Asheville Police Department Chief Tammy Hooper and Buncombe County District Attorney Todd Williams have issued statements indicating that they might investigate who leaked a video showing an Asheville police officer beating a man after police initially stopped him for alleged jaywalking.
The video police body cam video, which is not considered a public record under North Carolina law, was given to the Asheville Citizen-Times, which published it and an accompanying story on its website on Wednesday evening.
The Citizen-Times reports that Hooper said of the video release: “It is unlawful for us to do that. So that points to another type of investigation that would have to go on around that,” she said.
Williams, in separate statement, also criticized the release of the video.
“The extrajudicial release of evidence in this case prior to the completion of the investigation, such as the body cam video, risks compromising a potential future prosecution of involved officers and may require its own independent investigation,” Williams said in the statement.
The Asheville Police Department is conducting its own investigation into the events depicted in the body cam video. It shows Officer Chris Hickman using a Taser on Johnnie Jermaine Rush and repeatedly hitting him in the head while he was being restrained after he had been stopped and was being questioned by officers last August. The encounter escalated, Rush ran from Hickman and another officer, who gave chase.