Christopher Hickman, a now-fired North Carolina police officer, punched, choked and then tasered an unarmed black man over suspected jaywalking, according to nine new videos that were released Monday by the Asheville Police Department.
Police-issued body camera footage shows Hickman chasing Johnnie Jermaine Rush for suspected jaywalking.
“Just write him a ticket. He wants to act like a punk,” Hickman says in the videos, before apparently changing his mind. “He thinks it’s funny. You know what’s funny is you’re gonna get f‑‑‑ed up hardcore. Get on the ground.”
Rush can be heard yelling “I can’t breathe.”
The Hill added:
Hickman, who was terminated by the Asheville Police Department over the incident, is described on the city website as having used “dangerous and excessive force against Johnnie Rush” and was “quickly taken off the street,” according to the site.
He now faces charges of felony assault by strangulation, misdemeanor assault inflicting serious injury and misdemeanor communicating threats for the August 2017 confrontation, according to The Washington Post. His lawyer says Hickman is innocent and will face the charges in court.
“Christopher Hickman’s actions violated the Asheville Police Department’s vision that all people are treated with dignity and respect. These actions have damaged the progress the Asheville Police Department has made in the last several years in improving community trust,” reads a statement from the City of Asheville.
As a result of the incident, social justice advocates have called for changes in city government.
“Black Lives Matter is pretty much fed up with people making excuses for the blatant anti-black racism practices in this city,” Black Lives Matter member Sharon Smith said at a city council meeting, according to the Asheville Citizen-Times.
“We demand it stop immediately, beginning with the city officials who have obviously abused their authority.”