A police brutality incident involving a Black man who was punched and tasered for jaywalking in North Carolina has become the latest case pointing out how people of color are racially profiled. After residents in Asheville, North Carolina were outraged over recently released police camera footage that showed Officer Christopher William Hickman beating Johnnie Jermaine Rush last August, charges were filed against the cop.
Hickman, 31, was charged with assault by strangulation, assault inflicting serious injury and communicating threats, according to a release from Buncombe County District Attorney’s Office.
33, who is Black, was punched in the head, restrained, pinned to the ground and tasered twice in a parking lot on August 24, 2017. He uttered the late Eric Garner‘s last words: “I can’t breathe.” However, Hickman, who is White, didn’t listen to Rush, who was suspected of jaywalking and trespassing. Rush suffered bruises and injury. He was also charged with assault on a government official; resisting, delaying and obstructing an officer, trespassing and traffic offenses. The charges were dismissed by the Buncombe County District Attorney’s Office last September against Rush.
Hickman was removed from patrol duty a day after the incident and resigned from his position with the Asheville Police Department in January before he was expected to be terminated, a timeline reported by the Asheville City Council revealed. The council held a special closed session meeting on March 5 about Hickman’s use of force, and they voted to support the release of personnel information relevant to the case.
The FBI has also launched an investigation into the incident, according to the Asheville Citizen-Times.
The ACLU condemned the attack, which has been viewed as another police incident that targeted someone for walking while Black.
“There is no excuse for what happened to Johnnie Rush,” the ACLU of North Carolina tweeted this week. “Police must protect and serve everyone, regardless of race. Instead, a Black man gets beaten, tased, and choked over jaywalking. That’s right, jaywalking.”