Saturday - Dec 15, 2018

City of Asheville Police Department body-worn camera viewing information guide


Body cam camera

These recordings depict an event which occurred August 24 and 25, 2017. What happened in these recordings is unacceptable and does not meet the standards of the Asheville Police Department, the values of the City of Asheville, or the expectations of Asheville residents. Christopher Hickman, who used dangerous and excessive force against Johnnie Rush, was quickly taken off the street, and subsequently resigned from the police department before he was terminated. He currently faces state criminal charges, and is the subject of a federal civil rights investigation.

 

North Carolina state law prohibits the public release of law enforcement recordings without a court order. Members of the Asheville City Council, the press and the public may not view or receive copies of law enforcement recordings without a court order obtained pursuant to the North Carolina General Statutes. At a hearing held March 26, 2018, the Buncombe County Superior Court granted the City of Asheville’s request that it be allowed to release all footage pursuant to NC Superior Court Order, file no. 18CVS00941, captured that night in the interest of public accountability and transparency.

 

Christopher Hickman’s trainee, Verino Ruggerio was immediately reassigned to another training officer, and has given every indication that he understands that Hickman’s actions were wholly unacceptable, and not up to the standards of a modern, community-oriented police agency.

 

These recordings also depict a supervisor, Sergeant Lisa Taube,  interacting with Mr. Rush, Mr. Rush’s significant other,  as well as Christopher Hickman. It was later determined that the supervisor’s conduct in this matter constituted unsatisfactory performance under APD policy, which resulted in disciplinary action and mandatory retraining.

 

Christopher Hickman’s actions violated to the Asheville Police Department’s vision that all people are treated with dignity and respect. These actions have damaged the progress the Asheville Police Department has made in the last several years in improving community trust.

 

In 2016, the Asheville Police Department, in partnership with the Vera Institute of Justice (Vera), established the Community Police Policy Work Group, which was comprised of community leaders representing a variety of community groups including, but not limited to, the Racial Justice Coalition, NAACP, Black Lives Matters and Asheville City Schools. The goal of the work group was to obtain input on the department’s updated use of force policy. Based on these recommendations, the department implemented a fully revised use of force policy on May 5, 2017.

 

City Council, the City Manager, the Chief of Police and employees of the Asheville Police Department remain motivated to create a culture of respect and professionalism, and to hold individuals accountable when that does not happen.

 

Many of the following videos contain violence and explicit language.

 

Video 1

Recording is taken from the body-worn camera of Christopher Hickman on August 24, 2017, at 11:52 p.m. The video is taken at the Eblen Short Stop (210 Biltmore Avenue) when Officer Verino Ruggiero first approaches Johnnie Rush about jaywalking as he leaves the convenience store.

Link to Video 1

 

 

Video 2

Recording is taken from the body-worn camera of Christopher Hickman on August 25, 2017, at 12:01 a.m. This is the original recording that was released by the Asheville Citizen-Times on March 1, 2018. This recording contains violent content and explicit language.

Link to Video 2

 

 

Video 3

Recording is taken from the body-worn camera of Police Officer Luis Delgado on August 25, 2017, at 12:04 a.m. Officer Delgado arrives to the scene and sees a struggle between Christopher Hickman, Officer Ruggiero and Mr. Rush. At the time of Officer Delgado’s arrival Mr. Rush is being tasered. This recording contains violent content and explicit language.

Link to Video 3

 

 

Video 4

Recording is taken from the body-worn camera of Sgt. Lisa Taube on August 25, 2017, at 12:04 a.m. Per the Asheville Police Department’s Use of Force Policy, “a supervisor will respond to the scene of all reportable incidents involving a use of force to conduct a preliminary investigation and collect supplemental documents….” The video contains the supervisors interactions with Mr. Rush, Mr. Rush’s significant other and Christopher Hickman. Sergeant Taube ultimately received disciplinary action for poor performance, and was ordered to undergo remedial training in connection with this incident. This recording contains violent content and explicit language.

Link to Video 4

 

 

Video 5

Recording is taken from the body-worn camera of Senior Police Officer Doug Williams on August 25, 2017, at 12:04 a.m. SPO Williams arrived to the scene as Mr. Rush is being walked across the street to Hickman’s patrol vehicle. This video contains explicit language.

Link to Video 5

 

 

Video 6

Recording is taken from the body-worn camera of Senior Police Officer Shawn Parker on August 25, 2017, at 12:07 a.m. SPO Parker arrived to the scene as Mr. Rush is being walked across the street to Hickman’s patrol vehicle. This video contains explicit language.

Link to Video 6

 

 

Video 7

Recording is taken from the body-worn camera of Officer Colby Davis on August 25, 2017, at 12:08 a.m. Officer Davis arrived on the scene after Mr. Rush was taken across the street to Hickman’s patrol vehicle. This video contains explicit language.

Link to Video 7

 

 

Video 8

Recording is taken from the body-worn camera of Senior Police Officer Shawn Parker on August 25, 2017, at 12:31 a.m. It shows SPO Parker interacting with Mr. Rush’s significant other, as well as other officers who arrive on-scene. This video contains explicit language.

Link to Video 8

 

 

Video 9

Recording is taken from the body-worn camera of Christopher Hickman on August 25, 2017, at 1:22 a.m. The recording is taken in the parking lot of Mission Hospital following Mr. Rush’s release from the hospital. The video shows Christopher Hickman, Officer Verino Ruggiero and Mr. Rush talking about the earlier incident in the Mission Parking lot, and then the drive to the Buncombe County Detention Facility.

Link to Video 9

 

 

Where to find out more

For additional information, visit the City’s One-stop portal: Press releases, graphics and documents related to APD excessive use of force investigation in one place.

 

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