Buncombe DA drops 27 cases involving former Asheville police officer involved in beating


Buncombe County District Attorney Todd Williams on Monday announced that he was dropping 27 cases involving 17 defendants that were initiated by former Asheville Police Department Officer Chris Hickman.

Hickman, 31, was charged by Williams with assault by strangulation, assault inflicting serious injury and communicating threats in connection with an incident the night of Aug. 24, 2017. Hickman can be seen in police body cam video beating, choking and using a Taser on Johnnie Rush, a man police had detained along Biltmore Avenue in downtown Asheville. The Asheville Citizen-Times was leaked a copy of the video and published it alongside a story detailing the encounter.

The FBI is investigating the incident, which has triggered outrage among residents and numerous calls for action on several fronts.

In his statement, Williams says that Hickman cannot be considered a credible witness in the 27 cases that were dropped. Williams did not release any other information about those cases.

Williams also says his office will analyze all of Hickman’s cases to find convictions between Aug. 24, 2017, and March 8 of this year to determine if he was the charging officer and whether those convictions should be set aside.