Here’s a quick look at more of the latest developments regarding the August 2017 incident in which an Asheville Police Department officer’s body cam video showed him beating, choking and using a Taser on a restrained man officers had detained. The Asheville Citizen-Times newspaper was leaked a copy of that body cam video and published it last week with an accompanying story about the incident.
-Buncombe County District Attorney Todd Williams issued a press release Thursday night announcing that he had filed criminal charges against Chris Hickman, a 31-year-old former Asheville Police Department officer who could be seen in body cam video beating and using a Taser on Johnnie Rush, a man officers had detained the night of Aug. 24, 2017. Hickman was arrested and charged with assault by strangulation, a felony, and misdemeanor assault inflicting serious injury and misdemeanor communicating threats. Hickman was released on an unsecured $10,000 bond. The announcement of the charges came a day after the FBI announced it would investigate the incident. Here’s a timeline of events in the case.
-Asheville City Council members, including Vijay Kapoor, Sheneika Smith and Vice Mayor Gwen Wisler, attend a Friday afternoon workshop in which they are trained on the Asheville Police Department’s use of force policy. The training includes role playing scenarios. The new policy, adopted in 2017, emphasizes de-escalation and accountability, the Asheville Citizen-Times reported at the time. The use of force training on Friday was scheduled before the publication last week of the controversial police body cam video.
-Asheville attorney Ben Scales, who is challenging Williams for Buncombe County district attorney in this year’s May primary election, held a press conference criticizing Williams for not acting sooner and for not being transparent about the investigation into the incident. (The two are facing off in the Democratic primary. There are no other candidates in this race, so the May primary will decide the race.) Asheville City Councilwoman Sheneika Smith arrives at the very end of the press conference and says that Scales’ criticism is valid. Here’s the full press conference: