Well, well, well. It looks as if the justice system is going to take the brutal beating of Johnnie Rush seriously, given that the FBI has launched an investigation into the North Carolina police officer accused of repeatedly beating Rush because he was allegedly jaywalking, the New York Daily News reports.
Asheville, N.C., Police Officer Chris Hickman was accused of using excessive force in the August 2017 arrest of Rush, who was suspected of jaywalking and trespassing after he walked across the parking lot of a business that was already closed for the day.
In the video, Hickman and then-officer-in-training Verino Ruggiero could be seen harassing Rush about crossing outside a pedestrian walk, leaving Rush, who had just worked a 13-hour shift at a nearby Cracker Barrel, frustrated.
When Rush voiced his frustration at being targeted, Hickman took it upon himself to attempt to arrest him. Rush started running. Hickman chased him.
“You know what’s funny is, you’re going to get fucked up hard-core,” Hickman could be heard yelling in the video at Rush as he gave chase.
Hickman and one other officer pushed Rush to the ground, and Hickman was seen repeatedly striking Rush in the head, even as he screamed that he couldn’t breathe.
As the Daily News notes, Asheville Police Chief Tammy Hooper has signaled that she would resign if it helped cool the outrage sparked by the video. Her offer came after the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation twice declined to look into the attack (who knows why?). Ultimately, while the bureau refused to open a separate investigation, it signaled that it would be assisting the FBI in the case.
Hickman was made to hand in his gun and his badge the day after the beating but later resigned in January before he could be fired as a result of an internal investigation.