ASHEVILLE, NC (CBSMiami) – A former police officer faces assault charges after body camera video appears to show him beating and using an electronic stunning device on a man accused of jaywalking.
The video footage shows a confrontation between then officer Chris Hickman and Johnnie Jermaine Rush.
“Damn you ain’t got s**t to do besides harass somebody about f***g walking,” complained Rush.
“Put your hands behind your back,” demanded Hicks.
After a brief scuffle, Rush took off with Hicks on his heels.
“You think it’s funny….you know what’s funny, you gonna get f***ked up hardcore…get on the ground,” Hicks can be heard yelling.
Once Hickman and another officer caught up to Rush, they slammed him into the ground and started hitting him.
“I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe,” Rush can be heard saying.
Hickman appears to hit him in the head repeatedly and then use a Taser on him.
The confrontation took place last August. Asheville police say they received a ‘use of force’ complaint and removed Hickman from patrol the next day. They also launched an internal affairs investigation and informed the district attorney.
The district attorneys office said it chose not to file charges in September so the investigation could continue. In December, police returned with three new videos related to Hickman’s use of force. He resigned in January.
“I don’t understand why the DA didn’t bring charges,” said Asheville resident Al Whiteside.
Community members this week grilled Asheville officials at a packed town hall meeting. Police Chief Tammy Hooper did not try to defend Hickman’s behavior and admitted her department is under scrutiny.
“I’m happy to resign if that’s going to solve the problems here,” she said.
The FBI and the state investigators are both looking into the case.