Former NC Officer Charged After Body Camera Video Leaked

Johnnie Rush was beaten chocked and tasered after jaywalking in North Carolina

Johnnie Rush was beaten chocked and tasered after jaywalking in North Carolina

The Asheville City Council released a statement to the community Thursday after claims of excessive use of force by the Asheville Police Department.

A North Carolina cop has resigned following the release of body cam footage showing him beating, choking, and taking a man suspected of jaywalking.

Christopher William Hickman, who resigned from the Asheville Police Department in January, is facing charges of felony assault by strangulation and misdemeanor assault inflicting serious injury and communicating threats in connection to the august 25 incident, the Buncombe District Attorney's Office announced Thursday. Officer Chris Hickman tells Rush to put his hands behind his back.

Body camera footage from officer Chris Hickman, who was with his trainee Verino Ruggiero, shows that Rush said he was exhausted and told officers to stop harassing him, before the situation escalated to an arrest for jaywalking and trespassing on a parking lot.

The FBI investigation, alongside the independent criminal investigation into the case by the Asheville police department, is likely to focus on violations of Rush's civil rights during the incident.

Body camera footage shows Asheville, N.C., officers stop and later beat Johnnie Rush. As Rush runs, the officer says, "You know what's amusing is you're going to get f-- up hardcore". In September, all the charges were dismissed after Todd M. Williams, the district attorney in Asheville, reviewed the body camera video, police records show.

"Man, I'm exhausted, I just got off of work, man", Rush told police trainee Verino Ruggiero.

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The video begins with Officer Verino Ruggiero warning local resident Johnnie Jermaine Rush about repeated jaywalking.

"I am concerned that the public does not presently have access to all of the information necessary for it to judge the City's response to this officer's actions, and that absent that information, this matter will continue to negatively impact the community's perception of its police department and the way which the city responds to misconduct by its employees", Jackson wrote. "I'm exhausted!" The video then shows Hickman tasering Rush, choking him, beating his skull.

Surge told the Citizen-Times that Hickman utilized racial slurs against him as he was being dealt with for his injuries. Nor that charges against Rush, disproven by the bodycam video, were dropped. "I'm not going to lie about that", Hickman later says.

Asheville Police Chief Tammy Hooper ultimately placed Hickman on desk duty before he opted to resign from the force in January 2018 after an internal investigation concluded that he should be fired, according to reports. Rush briefly appears to indicate that he'll cooperate before fleeing from Hickman on foot.

Video of the encounter shows Rush telling Hickman and a police trainee that he just finished a 13-hour shift at a nearby Cracker Barrel and was stopped by the trainee in the parking lot.

The city did not provide contact information for Hickman. He resigned instead at the beginning of a January meeting where he was scheduled to be terminated. "If no one would've leaked it [the video] or said something, we would be in the dark".

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