Asheville, NC – A former Asheville Police Department (APD) Officer was arrested for assault on Thursday, after he engaged in a physical altercation with a suspect who was resisting arrest (video below).
APD has released dashcam and bodycam footage of the incident, which occurred in 2017.
Former Officer Chris Hickman, 31, has been charged with felony assault by strangulation, misdemeanor assault inflicting serious injury, and communicating threats, District Attorney Todd Williams said, according to the Citizen Times.
The altercation took place around midnight on Aug. 25, 2017, while Officer Hickman and an unnamed trainee were out on patrol.
The video showed the officers as they made contact with 33-year-old Johnnie Rush, who had just walked into the street in front of cars – twice – while officers were present, Hickman later told a supervisor.
“I was polite with you and asked you to use a crosswalk,” the trainee told Rush. “You didn’t use a crosswalk four times in a row, and you cut through [another property] after I asked you, two seconds ago, not to.”
Rush continued to argue that he had done nothing wrong, and that the officers were “harassing” him.
“Just because you don’t agree with the crime doesn’t mean it’s not a crime,” the trainee said. “You just committed four crimes in a row.”
“Pedestrians get hit in the street every day,” he explained.
“Y’all ain’t got s**t better to do besides harass somebody about f*****g walking,” Rush said, as one of the trainee prepared to issue him a citation.
Officer Hickman then walked around the front of the police cruiser to intervene.
“Put your hands behind your back,” Officer Hickman told Rush, as he moved towards him. Rush began to step backwards, and Officer Hickman seemed to intuitively recognize that the man was going to flee.
“Don’t. Do not,” Officer Hickman commanded, before Rush wriggled away from him, and began running down the street.
Officer Hickman gave chase, and broadcasted Rush’s description over the radio.
Once Rush fled, he committed a crime and the officers could legally use any reasonable force to stop him.
“Black male, white tank top, thinks it’s funny,” he said.
“You know what’s funny, is you’re gonna get f****d up, hardcore,” Officer Hickman then told Rush as he ran after him.
The officers quickly tackled Rush and took him to the ground, where he continued to resist arrest.
“Put your hands behind your back,” they both told him repeatedly.
“I can’t breathe!” Rush began to yell, even after his head was freed from being restrained.
The officers continued to struggle on the ground with the combative man, and Officer Hickman was seen delivering several blows to Rush’s head to subdue him.
Rush was ultimately tased, then began repeatedly yelling for help.
“Stop kicking me,” one of the officers told him, as they finally placed Rush into handcuffs.
As he worked to catch his breath, Officer Hickman called for EMS to respond to assist Rush, who was bleeding from his head and face.
In the video, he explained to a supervisor that the altercation escalated when Rush tried to strip his Taser from his hand.
Officers are trained to use violence to get control of a suspect attempting to disarm them.
“I beat the s**t out of his head, I’m not gonna lie about that,” Officer Hickman said.
Rush was charged with second-degree trespass and resisting a public officer, CNN reported. He filed an excessive force complaint against Officer Hickman later on the date of his arrest.
The charges against Rush were dismissed by the district attorney in September.
Officer Hickman was suspended following the incident, and resigned from his position in January.
He was arrested and released on $10,000 bond at 8:45 p.m. on Thursday.
Hickman, Rush, and APD did not respond to requests for comment, according to CNN.
You can watch the video of the fight below: