Former LMPD officer found not guilty of all charges after choking 13-year-old boy in 2015

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The former LMPD and school resource officer accused of assaulting a 13-year-old boy at Olmsted Academy North in January 2015 was found not guilty on all charges Thursday by a Jefferson County jury.

Jonathan Hardin was facing second-degree assault, wanton endangerment and official misconduct charge stemming from the incident.

Surveillance video from the lobby of the school shows Hardin pushed to the ground by a student. When Hardin gets up, he puts the teen in a choke hold until he loses consciousness.

"I take a hit, my gosh, it literally knocked the air out of me," Hardin said. "Not just from the hit, but then when I hit the floor, I was like, 'Oh my gosh, what's going on?'"

As a police officer, Hardin said he was trained to gain control of the situation. 

"If you see, I use both my arms," Hardin said. "And when I grabbed him, I grabbed the upper part of his chest. That was the intention of grabbing him: to get control of his arms. And that was it."

The 13-year-old student passed out for five to seven seconds, which doctors said during the trial was not harmful. Furthermore, the prosecution argued the hold was against police policy. 

"Choking techniques are not an approved force option and are prohibited," prosecutor Justin Janes said.

But the defense proved to the jury there is a difference between work policy and being considered a criminal. 

"We're just so happy that the jury saw this wasn't a criminal act," defense attorney Brian Butler said. "He's a good man. He had no intention whatsoever to hurt that student."

Several teachers and support staff at the school testified during the first day of the trial that the teenager did not complain about injuries or the incident itself. 

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