By James Sweet III | Asheville
In the City of Asheville, North Carolina, a dramatic video has emerged of two cops pursuing and blatantly assaulting Johnnie Jermaine Rush, a man that committed “four crimes” of jaywalking, according to one of the cops involved.
The encounter between Rush and the two police officers, specifically Chris Hickman and another unnamed officer, took place in the August of 2017. In the video taken from a body camera, the officers are following Rush after they previously asked him to stop jaywalking. They pulled their car over and confronted Rush. Rush was visibly extremely distressed.
All I’m trying to do is go home, man.
The officer that confronted Rush was initially calm, stating he committed jaywalking four times and that the accused criminal could either be arrested or given a ticket. Rush tells the officer to do what he has to do, accusing the officer of harassment. Rush gets frustrated, cursing at the officer while stating that he is being harassed merely for walking. This makes Hickman approach the man, telling him to put his hands behind his back. This is when Rush begins to back away, and runs to a nearby parking lot. Hickman pulls out his taser, talking on the radio and to Rush.
You’re going to get f**ked up hardcore.
While Rush was being restrained, he exclaims that he cannot breathe. In response, Hickman hits him in the head, while the other officer helps subdue and arrest him.
Hickman, who was awarded the departments medal of honor in 2014, resigned in January. Chief Tammy Hooper has confirmed this and has offered up her own resignation as well. The department launched an investigation into the matter in January, and the FBI is also conducting their own investigation.
Concerns are being raised about how the video got leaked, however, to the Citizen Times, the newspaper that initially reported on the incident. District Attorney Todd Williams believes that someone should look into how the video was leaked. He also went as far as suggesting that it could warrant a criminal investigation.
Racism may have been involved, as Rush was a black male, while the cops were both white, although this is not certain. It is certain, however, that there was an unjust law that was enforced in a violent manner upon a hard working, tax paying American citizen.