North Carolina SBI alerted to Asheville police beating video case five months after it happened


The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation decided not to investigate an excessive use of force case in Asheville because too much time passed, according to a report.

It took five months for Asheville officials to notify the SBI of the case, the Associated Press reports. It was August 2017 when Johnnie Jermaine Rush was stopped by Asheville police officers, who said he was jaywalking. The encounter escalated, and body cam video of Officer Chris Hickman shows him chasing and using a Taser on Rush, who ran from officers. It shows Hickman repeatedly hitting Rush in the head while he’s being restrained.

Asheville police charged Rush with a host of offenses, including assault on a government official, resisting arrest, delaying and obstructing an officer and trespass. But within a month, the office of Buncombe County District Attorney Todd Williams dismissed all those charges, according to the report.

Asheville Police Chief Tammy Hooper and Williams then together asked the SBI to investigate, but the agency declined. The state agency didn’t learn about the case until five months after it occurred, and that delay caused problems with the memories of witnesses and other evidence, SBI spokesman Patty McQuillan said.

The Asheville Citizen-Times published the police body cam video and an accompanying story on Wednesday evening. Since then, Hooper and Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer have issued a statement apologizing to Rush for the incident.