Video has surfaced of white police officers in Asheville, North Carolina, beating and tasing a black man who was suspected of jaywalking and trespassing on Aug. 24, 2017.
The Asheville Police Department launched an investigation into the beating five months later in January 2018, notes the Asheville Citizen Times.
Johnnie Jermaine Rush allegedly walked across a parking lot of a business that had closed when he was stopped by two police officers.
Police body camera video shows Officer Chris Hickman beating Rush in the head while Rush is being restrained by Officer Verino Ruggiero, reports the Asheville Citizen Times.
While Rush is restrained on the ground, he tells the police multiple times that he cannot breathe, and, in response, Ruggiero tases him twice.
Police Chief Tammy Hooper confirmed that Hickman resigned from the force.
The Asheville Citizen Times notes that “hundreds of pedestrians” cross the same street “without using a crosswalk before and after baseball games.”
At the beginning of the video, Rush told the police: “All I’m trying to do is go home, man. I‘m tired. I just got off work.”
Ruggiero replied: “I’ve got two options: I can either arrest you or write you a ticket.”
Rush stated “It doesn’t matter to me, man. Do what you have got to do, besides keep harassing me.”
After Rush said the F-word, Hickman escalated the situation by telling Rush to put his hands behind his back.
Rush then ran from the scene,
Hickman chased Rush and threatened: “You are going to get (expletive) up hardcore.”
Rush is then beaten and tased.
Rush told the Asheville Citizen Times that he was taken to a hospital where Hickman was abusive and used a racial slur.
Rush was charged with assault on a government official, resisting, delaying and obstructing an officer, trespass and traffic offenses.
However, the Buncombe County District Attorney’s Office dropped all the charges on Sept. 18, 2017.
The State Bureau of Investigation was asked to initiate a criminal investigation into the beating, but refused.
An unidentified police officer was asked to initiate a criminal investigation into Hickman’s actions.
(Source: Asheville Citizen Times)