More than two dozen cases connected to a white North Carolina cop accused in the brutal beating of a Black man have been dismissed, officials announced Tuesday.
Buncombe County prosecutors say 17 people arrested by Asheville police officer Christopher Hickman had their 27 cases dropped, which included felonies and DWIs, according to CBS North Carolina. Violent felonies and sex offenses still remain on the docket.
Hickman was caught on body cam video battering Johnnie Jermaine Rush who was suspected of jaywalking and trespassing. Hickman was charged in the case but since he can’t be considered a credible witness, the cases were thrown out, according to the New York Daily News.
Brutal Beating of Another Black Man
The body cam footage taken last Aug. 24, showed the police confronting Rush, who had been walking across a parking lot of a business that was closed for the day. Officer-in-training Verino Ruggiero caught up to Rush after he crossed without using the crosswalk and claimed to have warned Rush about jaywalking.
“All I’m trying to do is go home, man. I‘m tired. I just got off work,” Rush says.
“I’ve got two options: I can either arrest you or write you a ticket,” Ruggiero replies.
“It doesn’t matter to me, man,” Rush says. “Do what you have got to do, besides keep harassing me.”
Rush then swears in frustration, at which point Ruggiero tells him to put his hands behind his back. Rush flees, and another officer, Chris Hickman, chases him, promising, “You are going to get (expletive) up hardcore,” as he pulls out a stun gun. Hickman was training Ruggiero.
In the video, obtained by the Citizen Times, Hickman can be seen restraining Rush and beating him, punching his head. Rush was also shocked with the stun gun twice. Rush can be heard to say multiple times that he can’t breathe as he is restrained on the ground.
Rush was taken to the hospital after the incident and there claimed that Hickman had used a racial slur during the beatdown.
He was charged with assault on a government official; resisting, delaying and obstructing an officer, trespass and traffic offenses, but those charges were later dismissed.
Since that time, Hickman was charged with assault by strangulation, communicating threats, and assault with intent to injure. He resigned from the Asheville Police Department in January and is scheduled to appear in court on April 2.