Asheville mayor, police chief express outrage over police beating incident


Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer and Asheville Police Department Chief Tammy Hooper both issued statements Thursday expressing outrage and apologies to a man shown in a police body cam video being beaten by a police officer.

The Asheville Citizen-Times published the police officer body cam video and an accompanying story on Wednesday evening. It shows Officer Chris Hickman chasing, beating and using a Taser on Johnnie Jermaine Rush, who had been detained for jaywalking last August.

“The acts demonstrated in this video are unacceptable and contrary to the Department’s vision and the progress we have made in the last several years in improving community trust,” Hooper said in a written statement.

“Officers know that they must earn the trust of our community by providing fair and respectful service. That very clearly did not happen during the incident depicted and for that I apologize to Mr. Rush, as well as the community,” Hooper’s statement read.

Mayor Manheimer also apologized to Rush in a statement.

“The City Council first learned, last night, from local media, about a highly disturbing video of an Asheville Police Officer assaulting Mr. Rush over jaywalking on Aug. 24, 2017,” Manheimer said. “The City Council and I immediately contacted City administration to express our outrage at the treatment of Mr. Rush and our outrage of not being informed about the actions of APD officers.”

Manheimer goes on to call for a review of the incident, which is ongoing by the Asheville Police Department, according to Hooper. “We will have accountability and, above all, transparency,” Manheimer says in the statement.

“As your Mayor, I want there to be a clear message that there must be an end to police abuse of power. I support APD Chief Hooper in her efforts to emphasize de-escalation. The acts of these officers do not represent the professional and fair treatment a vast majority of our officers show in the course of their duties day in and day out,” Manheimer says.


Barry Summers March 3, 2018 - 8:22 am

Oh, and contradicting his previous denials, Chuck McGrady confirmed his new study committee might go after control of Asheville’s water system again.

I know, we all wanted to believe this was over when the Supreme Court ruled in Asheville’s favor in 2016, but Chuck is like Ahab.

Somebody might want to report this, just sayin’…

MIke March 2, 2018 - 3:24 pm

He ‘resigned’ a few months ago, which either is a coincidence or they asked him to leave because of this and tried to keep it quiet.

Mike Hopping March 3, 2018 - 8:12 am

Thanks. I’d missed that development.

Mike Hopping March 2, 2018 - 9:41 am

So, has Officer Hickman been fired, or at least restricted to desk duty pending completion of the investigation into this incident?

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