White cop arrested for beating, choking, and Tasing black jaywalker

White cop arrested for beating, choking, and Tasing black jaywalker

White cop arrested for beating, choking, and Tasing black jaywalker

A former Asheville Police Department officer facing criminal charges after body camera footage appears to show him beating a man suspected of jaywalking is expected to be in court today.

Video first published by the Asheville Citizen-Times on February 28 shows Hickman, 31, beating and choking Johnnie Jermaine Rush, who was suspected of jaywalking and trespassing after crossing into a parking lot of a business that was closed at the time.

However, on the 18 of September, the charges against Rush were dropped after the Buncombe County District Attorney's Office reviewed Hickman's body cam which revealed that the officer overstepped his duties.

It didn't take long for anger and frustration to surface at a meeting of Asheville's Citizen Police Advisory Committee.

Before the newspaper's release on February 28 of that video, showing Officer Chris Hickman tasering and beating Johnnie Jermaine Rush, the state's investigative unit expressed little interest in pursuing the case from August 25, says Casey Blake, the paper's community engagement editor. The warrant said Rush lost consciousness when Hickman placed his arm on his throat and applied pressure. Rush then runs, and Hickman is heard in the video during the chase saying "You are going to get (f*****) up hard core".

"We are aware of at least three other incidents where Hickman had some questionable conduct", says Blake.

Blake characterizes Rush, the victim, as "an incredibly humble grateful man".

Rush says several times he can not breathe after being taken to the ground and shocked with a stun gun.

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Rush later told the newspaper that he stopped running shortly after taking off. Rush and Ruggiero quickly take him to the ground, the footage shows, and subdue him. The public did not know the police chief quietly oversaw an internal investigation and was about to fire the officer when he quit in January. State investigators say they are working with the FBI to investigate Hickman's behavior. They also questioned why the footage was not released earlier.

In particular, it was the investigation into Hickman, who's white, that was brought up the most.

In a statement, police later apologized to Rush for not providing "fair and respectful service" and characterized Hickman's actions as "unacceptable and contrary" to the department's vision. He resigned instead at the beginning of a January meeting where he was scheduled to be terminated.

A supervising officer who responded to the scene of the incident to evaluate Hickman's use of force failed to convey findings in a timely manner, the report said, "despite being told by Hickman that he struck Mr. Rush in the head with his Taser, and despite Mr. Rush saying that he was choked".

Hickman then calls for an ambulance for Rush before telling him: "All this over you getting a ticket?"

The city of Asheville has filed a petition requesting that the Police Department release additional body camera footage from the night of Rush's arrest to provide the public with a "complete picture of the incident". Only about 12 percent of the population is black.

"It is clear that, we, as a city, made mistakes". "We can be better".

"The issue is a human rights issue", one person said.

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