ASHEVILLE, NC (WCMH/AP)— A white North Carolina officer is shown putting a black pedestrian in a chokehold in video released Monday that offers more footage of a police beating that has sparked outrage over use of force.
City officials in Asheville, North Carolina, released nine body camera videos of the August 2017 encounter – most of it made public for the first time – from multiple officers. Earlier this year, a shorter clip obtained by a newspaper sparked anger in the community and helped lead to assault charges against former officer Christopher Hickman.
One of the new clips from an officer arriving as backup appears to show Hickman using both arms to restrain Johnnie Jermaine Rush by his neck. Police have previously said Hickman put Rush in a chokehold, but it was difficult to see on Hickman’s own body-worn camera that leaked to the newspaper.
Rush is heard yelling “I can’t breathe” while one of the officers punches him in the head. Rush then gets tased.
“It was a ticket! And you wanted to act like this? What is wrong with you? What the (expletive) is wrong with you,” Hickman is heard saying. “I don’t know what your problem is. I don’t know if you have a gun. I don’t know if you have a knife. I don’t have X-ray (expletive) vision.”
“Hey man, stop yelling at me,” Rush responds.
“Well then get up and put you in the car, tough boy. Do anything stupid you’re going to get hurt further. We are going across the street,” Hickman says.
“You didn’t have to bust me in the face for no reason,” Rush said.
“You didn’t have to make me,” Hickman responds.
A judge ruled a week ago that the new videos could be made public. North Carolina law generally prevents the release of body camera footage without court approval.
In one of the new clips, Rush argues that a supervisor who arrived on the scene, Sgt. Lisa Taube, appears to put more faith in Hickman’s account than his.
“He ran, laughing, saying ‘(expletive) you.’ I can’t wait until you catch me. So we caught him. Then he wanted to fight. Tried to drag the Taser out of my hand (supervisor’s face looks surprised). I just went on his (expletive) head. I beat the (expletive) out of his head. I am not going to lie about that,” Hickman is heard telling Taube.