Former NC Officer Charged After Body Camera Video Leaked

Citizens call for change amid use of force investigation at APD

A North Carolina city has asked that all police body camera footage of a white officer beating a black man accused of jaywalking past year be released.

This incident again highlights the impunity under which police agencies operate in the United States, where 1,192 people were murdered by the police last year and this year another 228 as of March 7, an average of more than three killings every day.

Police said they plan to present an investigation into whether Hickman's actions against Rush were criminal to the district attorney next week.

Authorities then sought an outside criminal probe in January by the State Bureau of Investigation, which declined to lead an investigation partly because of the months-long lapse in time since the violent arrest. The FBI is now investigating.

Body camera footage shows Asheville, N.C., officers stop and later beat Johnnie Rush.

Officer Hickman was also charged with a second misdemeanor, for threatening Mr. Rush. Rush explained he just got off work. Officer Chris Hickman tells Rush to put his hands behind his back.

Rush admitted running when he heard Hickman. "You know what's amusing is you're gonna get fu**ed up hardcore".

"It doesn't matter, man".

In the ensuring altercation, Hickman is seen repeatedly punching Rush in the face, as Rush says, "I can't breathe". "Do what you've got to do, besides keep harassing me", before cursing in frustration.

Rush is shown in the footage being put in the back of a police auto and paramedics checking his bloodied face and head.

Surge told the Citizen-Times that Hickman utilized racial slurs against him as he was being dealt with for his injuries.

"All I'm trying to do is go home, man".

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".

All charges against Rush, including assaulting a government official and jaywalking, have been dropped.

Asheville's body camera policy requires department technology officers only to review a sampling of body camera footage from officers around the department each month.

The administrative investigations revealed Hickman had used excessive force during the arrest and he had engaged in "rude and discourteous behavior" on four other occasions with other members of the public, according to police records.

Asheville police Chief Tammy Hooper says the video's release was illegal and an investigation is needed to determine the source of the leak. Hickman resigned in January.

"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".

During a community meeting Wednesday night, many Asheville residents said Hickman should have been arrested and charged with assault.

Of the story, which was picked up by the New York Times and other national outlets, Blake says: "It's a big one for us and it's still developing". Hooper chose to terminate him in January, personnel records show, but before she could deliver the news, he notified the department of his resignation, the documents say.



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