We all know that charges mean nothing in this criminal-justice world, especially when it pertains to police officers, but it’s as good a place as any to start, and so far, it seems as if Asheville, N.C., Police Officer Christopher Hickman will be facing some pretty serious charges for his part in the brutal beating of a black pedestrian over alleged jaywalking.
I love this song.
According to ABC News, Chief Magistrate D.L. Cowan issued an arrest warrant against Hickman outlining charges of assault by strangulation, assault inflicting serious injury and communicating threats.
The Buncombe County District Attorney’s Office tweeted out a press release announcing the charges, noting that “a charge is merely an accusation,” yada yada, innocent until proven guilty, yada yada.
I mean ... there’s a tape, bruh. But I guess there is such a thing as due process.
According to CNN, Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer said that Hickman has since been taken into custody.
The announcement also came just after the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, which refused to launch its own investigation into the case, announced that the FBI had launched a criminal investigation. Federal agents were asked by the state bureau to conduct the criminal probe against Hickman, officials said.
The case stems from an Aug. 25, 2017, incident in which Hickman and a partner he was training stopped 33-year-old Johnnie Rush for allegedly jaywalking across the parking lot of a business that was closed for the day.
Hickman’s own body camera captured him chasing Rush, who attempted to flee, and saying, “You know, what’s funny is, you’re going to get fucked up hard-core,” before pointing his Taser at him.
Rush said that he had stopped running, but in the video, Hickman and at least one other officer can be seen pushing Rush to the ground before Hickman starts punching him in the head repeatedly.
During the beating, Rush can be heard yelling, “I can’t breathe,” and is also heard screaming for help.
Rush was shocked with a Taser multiple times throughout the arrest. Rush also said that when he was taken to the hospital after the encounter, Hickman continued to be abusive and even used a racial slur.
Rush was charged with assault on a government official; resisting, delaying and obstructing an officer; and trespass and traffic offenses, but those charges were all thrown out by the Buncombe County District Attorney’s Office back in September.