Judge orders release of Asheville police body cam video


ASHEVILLE, NC (WSPA) – A judge has ordered the release of body camera footage in a use of force case in Asheville.

In a hearing Monday, the judge said all nine videos should be released without any restrictions.

The city of Asheville petitioned for the video to be released after it was leaked to the Asheville Citizens Times last last month. 

The video shows black citizen Johnnie Rush being repeatedly hit in the head and tased after being placed in handcuffs for jaywalking. The officer involved in the use of force incident, Christopher Hickman, resigned in January and then was charged in March. 

Hickman faces three charges including assault by strangulation, assault, and communicating threats. 

The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigations also has a separate joint investigation with the FBI into Hickman’s actions. 

After Hickman’s arrest, many employee changes were made, including reassigning the interim city administrator, who was first told about the use of force incident, and firing the city administrator Gary Jackson. 

In North Carolina, body camera footage can only be released after the court it petitioned.  

District Attorney Todd Williams and HIckman’s attorney Thomas Amburgey have filed objections against the release of the video because of an ongoing criminal case. 

According to a court document, Williams has filed a petition to delay the release of the body-cam video until the conclusion of Hickman’s trial, but does not oppose the release of the video.

Williams said in the document that delaying the release of the video will “prevent excessive, inflammatory, and prejudicial pretrial in news media, social media and word of mouth that is likely to cause the criminal case to be moved to another county.”

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