A former North Carolina police officer has been charged with assault after a video allegedly shows him beating, choking, and tasing a man accused of jaywalking, according to the Citizen Times.
Former Asheville Police Officer Chris Hickman, 31, and another officer reportedly approached Johnnie Jermaine Rush at about 8:45 p.m. on Aug. 24 for jaywalking.
The unnamed officer allegedly told Rush that he was either going to get a ticket or get arrested. According to reports, Rush complained that the officers didn’t “have s**t better to do besides harass somebody about f***ing walking” and said he just wanted to get home after working a long shift at Cracker Barrel.
As the confrontation escalated, Rush allegedly attempted to flee after the officers told him to put his hands behind his back.
Hickman, as he pursued, is reportedly heard saying, “You think it’s funny. You know what’s funny, you gonna get f***ed up hardcore. Get on the ground.”
The officers caught Rush, and the bodycam footage allegedly shows the officers beating him on the head repeatedly and then choking and finally tasing him. Rush is heard saying he can’t breathe during the event.
How was the incident handled at the time?
Hickman was removed from his patrol the next day after the department received a “use of force” complaint.
An investigation continued through December, allegedly revealing several new videos related to Hickman’s use of force. Hickman resigned in January.
At a town hall last week, some residents questioned why charges weren’t brought at the time.
Asheville Police Chief Tammy Hooper said at the town hall that she was “happy to resign” if that would solve the issue.
About the charges
Hickman was charged with felony assault by strangulation and misdemeanor assault inflicting serious injury and communicating threats.
According to the warrant, Hickman is charged because he “unlawfully and willfully did assault and strike Johnnie Jermaine Rush by repeatedly striking the victim about the head and face thereby inflicting serious injury abrasions and swelling to the head” and “causing loss of consciousness by strangulation placing his arms around his throat and squeezing.”
Hickman was released on bail on Thursday.