Former Asheville Police Officer Charged For August Beating

Police said the man had been jaywalking and ran from them when they warned him about

A former police officer in North Carolina was arrested and is facing assault charges after body camera video appears to show him beating a man for jaywalking.

The leaked video taken near downtown Asheville shows former Officer Chris Hickman, who is white, punching the head of local resident Johnnie Jermaine Rush, who is black, on the night of August 24. On Thursday, the officer, Hickman, was arrested and charged with felony assault by strangulation, as well as misdemeanor assault inflicting serious injury and communicating threats, the newspaper's Joel Burgess reported.

Hickman has been released after posting $10,000 bond and declined to a respond to a reporter while walking out of jail, the Citizen-Times reports.

At this point, Officer Christopher Hickman, who was training Ruggiero, tells Rush to put his hands behind his back.

"(He) thinks it's amusing", Hickman can be heard saying during the chase. Rush explained he just got off work.

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

"I'm not going to lie about that", Hickman later says.

At the hospital, Hickman verbally abused Rush and used racial slurs against him.

Rush told the authorities that he was returning home from a 13-hour shift when he was approached by Ruggiero.

Rush told the Citizen Times that he then stopped, before being tackled to the ground by the officers.

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

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.

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.

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. The criminal investigation into Hickman's actions did not start until after he resigned, and wrapped up a week after the video of the beating was leaked to the Asheville Citizen-Times, which first published it and made the incident public.

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

On Monday, the City of Asheville filed a petition in order to have body camera footage in the incident released. Only about 12 percent of the population is black. "We MUST uphold ourselves to the highest standards and practices", she said. "And we are furious that no one thought that we - Asheville's elected leaders - needed to know about this incident".

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