VIDEOS: Asheville Police bodycams show use of force incident

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Asheville police use of force case

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Asheville has released 9 videos in relation to a use of force incident from August. 

On August 24th, citizen Johnnie Rush was stopped after officers believed he was jaywalking. 

The stop escalated and former officer Christopher Hickman can be seen on body camera repeatedly hitting Rush. Rush was also tased. 

An internal investigation by the Asheville Police found that Hickman’s actions violated policy. 

A criminal investigation into Hickman’s actions was launched in January and Hickman was charged in early March. Hickman is facing three charges, including felony assault by strangulation, misdemeanor assault inflicting serious injury and communicating threats. 

The State Bureau of Investigations is assisting in a joint investigation with the FBI into Hickman’s actions as well. 

Asheville petitioned the courts to release all videos related to the use of force incident. On March 26th, Judge Mark Powell ruled that the videos would be released. 

The city released the following statement about the videos:

Today, the City of Asheville will release nine officer body-worn camera videos related to the use of excessive force against Johnnie Jermaine Rush by former Officer Christopher Hickman in August of 2017.

 

These videos are disturbing, difficult to watch and may not be appropriate for all ages, as they contain violence and profanity. However, in the interest of public accountability and transparency, the City of Asheville petitioned the Buncombe County Superior Court to release the body-worn camera videos captured the night of August 24 and early morning of August 25, 2017.

 

This incident has created a loss of trust within the community, particularly among people of color. The City of Asheville understands that there is substantial work to do to restore the public’s trust. We have heard your concerns and feedback and we are committed to moving forward with the help of the community. We are encouraged by the community’s support as we implement changes towards this goal.   

 

We are dedicated to being leaders who will create a culture where all people are treated with dignity and respect, and will hold accountable any employee who does not conduct themselves in this manner.

Asheville has released the videos. You can view them below.

1. Recording is taken from the body-worn camera of Christopher Hickman on August 24, 2017, at 11:52 p.m. The video is taken at the Eblen Short Stop (210 Biltmore Avenue) when Officer Verino Ruggiero first approaches Johnnie Rush about jaywalking as he leaves the convenience store.

2. Recording is taken from the body-worn camera of Christopher Hickman on August 25, 2017, at 12:01 a.m. This is the original recording that was released by the Asheville Citizen-Times on March 1, 2018. This recording contains violent content and explicit language.

3. Recording is taken from the body-worn camera of Police Officer Luis Delgado on August 25, 2017, at 12:04 a.m. Officer Delgado arrives to the scene and sees a struggle between Christopher Hickman, Officer Ruggiero and Mr. Rush. At the time of Officer Delgado’s arrival Mr. Rush is being tasered. This recording contains violent content and explicit language.

4. Recording is taken from the body-worn camera of Sgt. Lisa Taube on August 25, 2017, at 12:04 a.m. Per the Asheville Police Department’s Use of Force Policy, “a supervisor will respond to the scene of all reportable incidents involving a use of force to conduct a preliminary investigation and collect supplemental documents….” The video contains the supervisors interactions with Mr. Rush, Mr. Rush’s significant other and Christopher Hickman. Sergeant Taube ultimately received disciplinary action for poor performance, and was ordered to undergo remedial training in connection with this incident. This recording contains violent content and explicit language.

5. Recording is taken from the body-worn camera of Senior Police Officer Doug Williams on August 25, 2017, at 12:04 a.m. SPO Williams arrived to the scene as Mr. Rush is being walked across the street to Hickman’s patrol vehicle. This video contains explicit language.

6. Recording is taken from the body-worn camera of Senior Police Officer Shawn Parker on August 25, 2017, at 12:07 a.m. SPO Parker arrived to the scene as Mr. Rush is being walked across the street to Hickman’s patrol vehicle. This video contains explicit language.

7. Recording is taken from the body-worn camera of Officer Colby Davis on August 25, 2017, at 12:08 a.m. Officer Davis arrived on the scene after Mr. Rush was taken across the street to Hickman’s patrol vehicle. This video contains explicit language.

8. Recording is taken from the body-worn camera of Senior Police Officer Shawn Parker on August 25, 2017, at 12:31 a.m. It shows SPO Parker interacting with Mr. Rush’s significant other, as well as other officers who arrive on-scene. This video contains explicit language.

9. Recording is taken from the body-worn camera of Christopher Hickman on August 25, 2017, at 1:22 a.m. The recording is taken in the parking lot of Mission Hospital following Mr. Rush’s release from the hospital. The video shows Christopher Hickman, Officer Verino Ruggiero and Mr. Rush talking about the earlier incident in the Mission Parking lot, and then the drive to the Buncombe County Detention Facility.

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