Charges Filed Against Asheville Cop Who Beat, Tased Man for Jaywalking

FBI investigating incident where white cop tasers, chokes and punches an unarmed black man in the head after he was caught jaywalking and it was caught on video

FBI investigating incident where white cop tasers, chokes and punches an unarmed black man in the head after he was caught jaywalking and it was caught on video

Buncombe County District Attorney Todd Williams announced in a press release late Thursday that former Asheville police officer Chris Hickman will face three criminal charges for the August beating of an unarmed black man. Hickman and an officer in training stopped Johnnie Rush for suspected jaywalking and trespassing late on the night of August 24th on Short Coxe Avenue.

Body camera film from officer Chris Hickman, who was with his learner Verino Ruggiero, demonstrates that Rush said he was worn out and advised officers to quit annoying him, before the circumstance heightened to a capture for jaywalking and trespassing on a parking area. Rush then runs, and Hickman is heard in the video during the chase saying "You are going to get (f*****) up hard core". After Rush told both officers that they were harassing him, Hickman took it upon himself to punch and tase Rush despite already having him restrained and on the ground.

The FBI has launched an investigation into the incident.

"I beat the s**t out of his head", Hickman says later to another officer.

The camera recorded Hickman saying "he's not learning!" before a trainee confronts Johnnie Jermaine Rush for jaywalking.

Rush told the Citizen-Times that Hickman used racial slurs against him as he was being treated for his wounds. The investigation also found that Hickman had engaged in "rude and discourteous behavior" on at least four other occasions.

The pedestrian said he couldn't breathe as Hickman choked him, repeatedly hit him over the head and handcuffed him.

Officers charged Rush with impeding traffic and resisting arrest, but the charges were dropped.

(UPDATE Thursday 4:20 p.m) - Asheville city councilman Vijay Kapoor is throwing his support behind police chief Tammy Hooper, who offered to resign in asked at Wednesday night's meeting of the city's citizen police advisory committee.

In a report to the Asheville City Council on Monday, City Manager Gary Jackson wrote, "The use of force shown in the recordings is, understandably, a source of great anger and concern within the community".

Asheville city specialists say that Hickman was compelled to turn in his firearm and identification the day after the beating in August, and surrendered in January before he could be let go as the aftereffect of an interior examination.

"The community deserves to know that the City takes Hickman's misconduct seriously, and that APD employees who engage in excessive force will be held accountable". He was charged with assault by strangulation, assault inflicting serious injury and communicating threats.

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

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

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