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NC ex-officer charged after body camera video leaks

The FBI is investigating a North Carolina police officer for the bloody beating of a pedestrian he accused of jaywalking.

Christopher Hickman was charged late Thursday with assault by strangulation, assault inflicting serious injury and communicating threats, according to the Buncombe County District Attorney's Office.

By ASHEVILLE POLICE DEPARTMENT on Publish Date March 7, 2018.

The FBI's investigation is expected to focus on potential civil rights violations.

An SBI statement again declined to open a separate investigation, though this time said it was because it was assisting the FBI in the case. "A second state investigation would likely duplicate much of the results of the ongoing federal investigation".

Who leaked that bodycam video to the Citizen Times newspaper?

Video first published by the Asheville Citizen-Times on February 28 shows Hickman, 31, beating and choking Johnnie Jermaine Rush, who was suspected of jaywalking and trespassing after crossing into a parking lot of a business that was closed at the time.

The camera recorded Hickman saying "he's not learning!" before a trainee confronts Johnnie Jermaine Rush for jaywalking.

Rush went on to tell the officers, "You ain't got nothing better to do besides mess with me, and I'm trying to go home?" Officer Chris Hickman tells Rush to put his hands behind his back.

As Hickman ran after Rush, he radioed a dispatcher, saying, "black male, tank top, thinks its amusing".

In December, police returned with three new videos related to officer Hickman's use of force.

Rush then tried to run and Hickman brought him down, repeatedly punching him in the head, the video shows.

Rush is shown in the footage being put in the back of a police vehicle and paramedics checking his bloodied face and head.

Rush told The Citizen Times that the supervisor accused him multiple times of lying. "I'm not going to lie about that", Hickman later says.

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.

Asheville police chief Tammy Hooper said that she would resign if it helped assuage outrage that has erupted over the video, though her offer comes after there has been difficulty finding someone to investigate the case.

All charges against Rush, including assaulting a government official and jaywalking, have been dropped.

Hooper also ordered a review of more than 58 hours worth of footage from Hickman's body-camera, which "revealed four other instances where Hickman displayed discourteous and rude conduct to members of the public". Hickman resigned in January just as he was about to be fired.

"The community deserves to know that the City takes Hickman's misconduct seriously, and that APD employees who engage in excessive force will be held accountable".

"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. 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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