Published: Sat, March 10, 2018
World | By Camille Rivera

Anger mounts over video of police beating unarmed man in North Carolina

Anger mounts over video of police beating unarmed man in North Carolina

The statement added that the city council would be calling for an audit of the Asheville Police Department and the staff's decision-making process related to its failure in notifying council members about the incident.

Body camera video showing a black man being Tasered and beaten during a confrontation with two white police officers who accused him of jaywalking has sent shock waves through the western North Carolina city of Asheville, forcing one of the officers to resign, prompting a federal investigation and leading the city's police chief to volunteer to step down.

Asheville Police Officer Chris Hickman, who resigned following the bloody beating, was arrested Thursday on charges of felony assault by strangulation and misdemeanor assault inflicting serious injury and communicating threats, USA Today reports. Video from a body camera worn by Hickman, who is white, shows Rush running away after Hickman's order to put his hands behind his back.

The body camera footage shows Hickman telling Taube that Rush had laughed and taunted the officers, and "wanted to fight", even reaching for Hickman's TASER at one point.

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The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigations confirmed on Wednesday that they are working a joint investigation with the FBI into the use of force incident.

Before the newspaper's release on February 28 of that video, showing Officer Chris Hickman tasering and beating Johnnie Jermaine Rush, the state's investigative unit expressed little interest in pursuing the case from august 25, says Casey Blake, the paper's community engagement editor. As Rush runs, the officer says, "You know what's amusing is you're going to get f-- up hardcore". "I'm exhausted. I just got off work".

The officers end up catching Rush and as he is restrained on the ground, Hickman proceeds to punch him in the head several times, as well as shoots him with a stun gun and chokes him.

Rush told The Citizen Times that the supervisor accused him multiple times of lying. Nor that charges against Rush, disproven by the bodycam video, were dropped.

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After words are exchanged, Rush attempts to flee on foot when Hickman tries to arrest him.

"The administrative investigation into Hickman's arrest of Rush concluded that Hickman had engaged in excessive force in violation of [Asheville Police Department] policy, as well as unbecoming conduct and failing to meet the responsibilities of duty", Jackson wrote.

City Councilwoman Sheneika Smith told the New York Times that she recognized Rush from her work with the nonprofit Green Opportunities, which provides job training.

During a community meeting Wednesday night, many Asheville residents said Hickman should have been arrested and charged with assault. The first to speak was DeLores Venable of Asheville Black Lives Matter. 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.

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"Asheville has an issue where we place value on certain people and we devalue other people based on their race, their politics, their economic situation or their placement within Asheville", Smith said.

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