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

Johnnie Jermaine Rush being arrested and beaten for jaywalking

The case against former Asheville police officer Christopher Hickman stems from an August 2017 encounter but became public only last week after a leaked body camera video showed Hickman subduing and punching the pedestrian, who was accused of jaywalking. "Do what you got to do besides keep harassing me".

Hickman can be heard later in the video telling another officer that he left serious injuries to Rush's head.

She says the paper has gotten copy editing and production help from a fellow Gannett paper in Greenville, S.C. It also plans editorials on a broader, but not indiscriminate, release of bodycam evidence to the public.

She described him as a hardworking man who was eager to learn and who had expressed an interest in construction and carpentry.

After Rush is given the option of a citation or being arrested, he can be heard cursing out of frustration. "He was looking for opportunities to gain more skills so he could qualify for higher-paying jobs", she said. He was also charged with assault on a government official; resisting, delaying and obstructing an officer, trespassing and traffic offenses.

Before the video's release, the public did not know about the incident six months earlier, nor did people know the police chief had reviewed the bodycam video the day after the incident.

Late Wednesday, at a local police advisory meeting packed with community members, Police Chief Tammy Hooper reportedly said she was "happy to resign" if that would quell the public discontent.

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. And she took necessary steps to ensure that he's no longer employed by the Asheville Police Department.

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Weeks later, after reviewing almost 60 hours of Hickman's body camera footage from numerous encounters, the department identified four other instances of rude behavior toward members of the public.

The two administrative investigations of Hickman, which concluded in December, took several months.

As the footage continued, Hickman told an arriving supervisor that Rush "tried to drag the Taser out of my hand".

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". On Wednesday, the FBI launched a criminal investigation. Hooper was asked whether she would do the same at last night's meeting, and she responded by saying she'd resign if people thought it would fix the problem. Asheville's population of almost 90,000 is about 82 percent white and 12 percent black.

Last year, Hooper faced protests after requesting $1 million to hire more officers to police the downtown area, which is near where Rush was tackled.

In a statement, the mayor of Asheville, Esther E. Manheimer, called the video "highly disturbing". "It's hard enough that we can't just throw a piece of technology at it and expect to substantially change police supervision", said Seth Stoughton, who teaches law at the University of SC.

"We are better than this".

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