Asheville police beating: FBI investigates, NYT notices, Kapoor defends police chief

Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

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Here’s a quick look at some 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.

-The FBI is investigating, reports the Asheville Citizen-Times. The federal investigation will likely center around a potential civil rights violation of city resident Johnnie Rush, who was beaten by Asheville Police Department officer Chris Hickman after being stopped the night of Aug. 24, 2017 for allegedly jaywalking, reporter Joel Burgess writes in a story published Wednesday. The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, which had twice declined to investigate the incident when asked by Asheville officials, says it will assist the FBI.

-The New York Times takes notice of the incident and reports its own story under the following headline: “Outrage Over Footage of Police Officer Beating Black Man in North Carolina.” The first three paragraphs of the story:

Federal authorities are investigating body camera footage from August that shows two white police officers Tasering and beating a black man whom they accused of jaywalking in Asheville, N.C.

The footage, obtained by The Citizen Times, has created an uproar in town. One of the officers has resigned, and the police chief has offered to follow suit.

“The city is in outrage,” Councilwoman Sheneika Smith said in a phone interview on Wednesday. “Facebook was flaming. It was on fire.”

-Hundreds of residents turn out for a Wednesday night meeting of the Citizens Police Advisory Committee, a group that acts as a liaison between residents and the Asheville Police Department. Police Chief Tammy Hooper attends and addresses some of the many questions residents have. In response to a question, Hooper says she would resign if she’s asked to. The Mountain Xpress reports here.

-Asheville City Councilman Vijay Kapoor releases a statement saying he wants Chief Hooper to stay, and explains why. Kapoor says Hooper acted quickly to take Hickman off the street and that she followed other procedures to properly handle the case.

-A majority of Asheville City Council members say they want Chief Hooper to remain on the job, the Citizen-Times reports.

Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

  • 1

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