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March 15, 2018

People outraged over footage of police officer beating a black man in North Carolina

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A police officer was caught assaulting a man for jaywalking.

According to Daily News, a white North Carolina police officer has been arrested on charges of felony assault on March 8, 2018.

The officer was caught on bodycam footage beating an African-American claiming he was jaywalking on August 24, 2017.

Asheville police officer Christopher Hickman was charged with felony assault by strangulation. He and another officer stopped 33-year-old Johnnie Rush last summer.

According to a video published by the Citizen Times on March 1, the officer and the civilian exchange words before Rush tries to flee on foot. The officer runs after him and pins him to the ground.

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The 31-year-old officer then tackles Rush and begins choking and hitting him on the head. An officer-in-training, Verino Ruggiero, was also present when the incident occurred on Short Coxe Avenue south of Downtown.

Rush screams, “I can’t breathe,” before getting shocked with a Taser.

Hickman resigned from the department in January and was arrested on March 8. His arrest warrant said the pedestrian suffered head abrasions and swelling from the night’s events. The FBI too is investigating the officer.

At a community meeting on March 7, residents expressed anger over the incident. Police Chief Tammy Hooper said that she would resign if it would help solve the problem.

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Asheville Police Department issued a statement on its Twitter and Facebook accounts. The statement said that the acts demonstrated in the video were unacceptable and contrary to the Department’s vision.

Activists say the incident was uncalled for and there was no excuse for what transpired between the two. 

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The American Civil Liberties Union’s branch in North Carolina tweeted that it was the duty of the police to protect and serve everyone, regardless of race. A black man getting beaten up, tased, and choked over jaywalking was not acceptable. 

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