Police video shows white NC officer punching, choking black man stopped for jaywalking
A former Asheville, N.C., police officer punched and choked an unarmed black man accused of jaywalking before using a stun gun on him, videos released Monday by the Asheville Police Department reveal.
In the nine videos released Monday, former officer Christopher Hickman can be heard admonishing Johnnie Rush for jaywalking before a remark by Rush appears to set him off. The footage is taken from the perspective of police-issued body cameras.
“Just write him a ticket. He wants to act like a punk,” Hickman says in the videos, before apparently changing his mind. “He thinks it’s funny. You know what’s funny is you’re gonna get f‑‑‑ed up hardcore. Get on the ground.”
Hickman, who was terminated by the Asheville Police Department over the incident, is described on the city website as having used “dangerous and excessive force against Johnnie Rush” and was “quickly taken off the street,” according to the site.
He now faces charges of felony assault by strangulation, misdemeanor assault inflicting serious injury and misdemeanor communicating threats for the August 2017 confrontation, according to The Washington Post. His lawyer says Hickman is innocent and will face the charges in court.
“Christopher Hickman’s actions violated the Asheville Police Department’s vision that all people are treated with dignity and respect. These actions have damaged the progress the Asheville Police Department has made in the last several years in improving community trust,” reads a statement from the City of Asheville.
Social justice advocates have called for changes in city government over the incident, which they say reveals a broader racist sentiment among local leaders.
“Black Lives Matter is pretty much fed up with people making excuses for the blatant anti-black racism practices in this city,” Black Lives Matter member Sharon Smith said at a city council meeting, according to the Asheville Citizen-Times.
“We demand it stop immediately, beginning with the city officials who have obviously abused their authority.”
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