Hamilton police sergeant charged with vandalism, OVI loses job

A Hamilton police sergeant arrested for vandalism and driving while under the influence has been fired from the police force following and internal investigation and a disciplinary hearing.

Casey N. Johnson, 40, was charged with felony vandalism shortly before midnight Sept. 16 after allegedly damaging a Butler County Sheriff’s Office cruiser at the scene of a crash in Morgan Twp. He was off duty at the time.

Johnson also was issued a ticket for OVI. Johnson was in Butler County Area I Court last week for a preliminary hearing on the vandalism charge and an initial appearance for the OVI. Represented by attorney Lawrence Hawkins III, Johnson waived his right to a speedy trial and the case was continued until Nov. 3. Johnson is free on his own recognizance.

Johnson has been a Hamilton police officer since 2004 and in July was promoted to sergeant.

The termination comes after a disciplinary hearing on Thursday in which Police Chief Craig Bucheit found Johnson in violation of the department’s general rules specifically conduct of unbecoming an officer and conformance to laws.

Bucheit said he determined, based on the internal investigation, that the allegations are “founded.”

At the hearing, Johnson was represented by attorney Stephen Lazarus.

“The facts of the case are undisputed and deeply troubling,” Bucheit said in his disciplinary letter.

During the hearing, Lazarus noted Johnson’s exceptional service for 18 years, “specifically the preservation of life award you were presented for your heroic efforts in preserving the life of a young woman during a brutal life-threatening attack,” Bucheit wrote in his letter.

“While the mitigating factors weigh heavily in the balance of my decision, your conduct represents a significant breach of trust placed in you as a public servant and a supervisor,” Bucheit said. “Despite the many mitigating factors, it is clear that anything short of the most serious sanction would demean the egregious nature of these violations. Accordingly, I am ordering your employment terminated with immediate effect.”

The injury crash happened about 11p.m. in the 5900 block of Cincinnati-Brookville Road when Johnson crossed over the center lane and hit another vehicle head-on that was traveling westbound, according to the crash report.

The woman in the other vehicle was taken to an area hospital for treatment of injuries that were not life-threatening.

Johnson was placed in a cruiser during the investigation into the crash, which deputies reported they suspected involved alcohol.

“He began kicking the inside of the passenger door. A (deputy) saw the suspect kicking the car he made the suspect get out of the vehicle. After the investigation of the crash was completed the suspect was arrested. While placing the suspect back into the vehicle, (a deputy) noticed the door handle was broken off. The parts from the door handle were laying on the floor,” according to the incident report.

Johnson also was involved in an altercation in the parking lot of Ross High School during a high school football game, police said. Johnson left the parking lot driving the Toyota Tundra that was crashed a short time later.

Ross Twp. Police Chief Burt Roberts said the other person involved in the altercation did not want to press charges.

Johnson was immediately been relieved of duty and placed on administrative leave after the crash.

The internal investigation obtained by the Journal-News says Johnson became “voluntarily intoxicated” while tailgating in the parking lot during the first half of the Ross High School football game. At about 8 p.m. he assaulted his girlfriend in the parking lot near the stadium and left when witnesses tried to intervene, reports say.

At the crash scene, deputies determined Johnson was intoxicated, alcoholic beverages were found in his vehicle and the other driver reported his was intoxicated, according to the report conducted by Lt. Pat Erb and Sgt. Mark Hayes.

When placed in the BCSO cruiser, “he kicked the door and the handle, this is supported by the deputy’s investigation and Johnson’s admission,” according to the report.

Johnson’s personnel file contains letters of commendation for his work on the SWAT team and as a K-9 officer where he was part of arrest operations.

In 2010, Johnson received the Preservation of Life Award for stopping a man during his attack of a woman with a claw hammer inside a Hamilton apartment. The suspect was beating the woman in the head, after being told by Johnson to drop the hammer, the man continued the beating. Johnson then shot and killed the suspect, according to police.

About the Author