The City of Asheville has gathered all press releases, graphics and documents related to a former Asheville Police officer excessive use of force investigation into this portal on the City of Asheville website.
The information relates to an use of excessive force against Johnnie Jermaine Rush by former Officer Christopher Hickman in August 2017.
See the links below for complete information.
External audit consultant report presented to City Council
On March 7, Asheville City Council announced that it would commission an external audit of the staff’s decision-making process related to the August 2017 Rush incident.
The City hired 21CP Solutions as the consultant for this external audit. The consultant presented his report and a PowerPoint presentation to Council during its Aug. 28 meeting. Here are links to the report and the PowerPoint presentation.
Settlement agreement released
Open letter from Asheville City Council,
Interim City Manager Cathy Ball
and Chief Tammy Hooper
Today, the City of Asheville will release nine officer body-worn camera videos related to the use of excessive force against Johnnie Jermaine Rush by former Officer Christopher Hickman in August of 2017.
These videos are disturbing, difficult to watch and may not be appropriate for all ages, as they contain violence and profanity. However, in the interest of public accountability and transparency, the City of Asheville petitioned the Buncombe County Superior Court to release the body-worn camera videos captured the night of August 24 and early morning of August 25, 2017.
This incident has created a loss of trust within the community, particularly among people of color. The City of Asheville understands that there is substantial work to do to restore the public’s trust. We have heard your concerns and feedback and we are committed to moving forward with the help of the community. We are encouraged by the community’s support as we implement changes towards this goal.
We are dedicated to being leaders who will create a culture where all people are treated with dignity and respect, and will hold accountable any employee who does not conduct themselves in this manner.
View the videos here:
Earlier reports and related links follow below.
March 26: Judge rules in City’s favor over video release
On March 26, Buncombe County Superior Court Judge Mark Powell granted the City of Asheville’s petition to release nine body-worn camera videos related to the arrest of Johnnie Jermaine Rush in August 2017.
The City filed the petition requesting release of the videos in the interest of transparency, at the request of City Council.
The judge ruled that the videos should be made public at 2 p.m. April 2, and the City expects an order authorizing this decision will be signed by Judge Powell in the next several days.
By state law, body-worn camera recordings are governed by N.C. General Statues 132-1.4A and cannot be released to the City Council, the press or the public, except by court order.
Here is a copy of the petition to the court:
March 5: APD excessive use of force investigation
press releases, graphics and documents
On March 5, the City of Asheville took an usual step in deciding to release personnel information in the matter of the Asheville Police Department excessive use of force investigation. Some of the following links have information usually considered private, including the fact that the day after the excessive use of force happened APD Chief Hooper ordered that the officer’s law enforcement authority be suspended, that his badge and gun be taken from him.
March 10: City of Asheville receives letter notifying City that Johnnie Rush as retained legal representation
The City of Asheville has received a letter dated March 8, 2018, from attorney James Ferguson II notifying the City of his legal representation of Johnnie Rush regarding the August 2017 excessive use of force incident by an Asheville Police Officer. That former APD officer, Christopher Hickman, was charged with two assault charges and a communicating threats charge by the Buncombe County District Attorney on March 8. Find more about those charges at the link below.
The City is making that letter available to the public here: Letter of Representation
Following the receipt of the letter, the City has had requests for an official response, which is provided here by City Attorney Robin Currin:
“(The City) had an introductory conversation with Mr. Ferguson (recently) and agreed to discuss matters further after he becomes more familiar with the case. There is nothing else to report, except both parties expressed an interest in resolving the matter without litigation being filed. Closed session discussions, as well as my communications with my client regarding potential litigation, are confidential and cannot be shared with (the public).”
Also related to Asheville Police Department’s use of force trends: