Hamilton Police Sgt. charged with vandalism, OVI appears in court

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Sep. 23—The case of a Hamilton police sergeant arrested early Saturday for vandalism and OVI has been continued until November.

Casey N. Johnson, 40, was charged with felony vandalism shortly before midnight 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.

He also was issued a ticket for OVI. On Thursday, Johnson was in Butler County Area I Court 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.

Hawkins declined comment.

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

The injury crash happened around 11 p.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. She attended the hearing on Thursday.

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.

During video arraignment, Johnson said he had retained an attorney and requested an own recognizance bond, noting he has no prior record and lives in the county.

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.

According to a witness, Johnson assaulted a woman, who also is a Hamilton police officer, while they were standing beside his truck in the parking lot telling her "to get back in the truck."

The witness said he attempted to make contact with Johnson and "Mr. Johnson got in his face, then backed off, got in his truck and drove away."

The incident happened at about 9:15 p.m. and according to the Ross Twp. report, the woman said she did not want to give a statement because she did not want to get Johnson in trouble.

According to Hamilton Capt. Marc McManus, "These are very serious and troubling allegations. If proven, they represent a significant breach of the public's trust and warrant significant disciplinary action."

Johnson has been relieved of duty and placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an administrative investigation.

On Wednesday, Hamilton Police Chief Craig Bucheit said the internal investigation is continuing.

Johnson's personnel file contains letters of commedication 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.