Asheville to take closer look at racial bias at APD

Asheville, NC - The city of Asheville will have a third party audit the police department to determine if there is structural racism or bias.  

This comes days after a video showing a former officer use excessive force on a black man suspected of jaywalking. 

Asheville Citizen Times released the body camera video last Thursday, showing former officer Christopher Hickman repeatedly beat Johnnie Rush. Body camera video is prohibited from release in North Carolina unless a court order is issued. 

In a statement issued Wednesday, Asheville City Council stated that they are committed to making deep, structural changes to prevent this from happening again. 

City council has called for a third party to audit the police department "to determine the degree to which structural racism and implicit and explicit bias continue to contribute to the operations and actions of the department and its officers."

Council members issued an apology to Johnnie Rush and expressed anger at the events, as well as the fact that no one notified elected leaders about the incident. 

The release goes on to state:

City Council will also commission an external audit of the staff’s decision-making process related to failure to notify Council. While we don’t yet know if it was a failure of culture, process, or just a cascade of poor decisions by multiple individuals, we need answers and a plan to promote swift action and accountability.

Officer Hickman was immediately removed from the streets after the incident, with the chief taking his badge and gun. Hickman resigned in January.

The Buncombe County district attorney is currently reviewing whether criminal charges should be filed against Hickman. 

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