Asheville City Council held an emergency meeting Monday March 5th, following the leak of police body camera footage to the Asheville Citizen Times.
The body camera video showed former Senior Officer Christopher Hickman beating and tasing Johnnie Rush after stopping him for jaywalking on August 24th.
Asheville City Council stated they learned about the incident only from the article and release of the video.
During the emergency meeting, Asheville City Council met in closed session, which gives council the ability to discuss matters out of the view of the public. Although the meetings are closed, the public body is required to take minutes of what takes place.
According to North Carolina law, the minutes can be in written form or video and audio recorded. The minutes have to reflect a general account of the closed session so that a person in attendance would have a reasonable understanding of what took place.
7News obtained the minutes for the emergency meeting’s three hour long closed session through an open records request.
In those minutes, it states all of city council, the police chief, and city attorneys were present. Council discussed what information is public record and what isn’t when it comes to former Officer Hickman and his history with the department. Mayor Esther Manheimer called for a motion for the city manager to release personnel info on Officer Hickman in relation to the August 24th incident, and the Vice-Mayor seconded the motion.
After City Manager Gary Jackson dispersed that public file to the media, council continued to discuss personnel matters in relation to the August 24th incident. Details of that discussion were not included in the minutes.
At 8:45 Councilman Keith Young moved to come out of closed session.
Asheville City Council has called another special called closed sesion meeting on March 16th, in which they will discuss reports concerning an investigation of alleged criminal misconduct.