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police violence

Video shows police punching, choking, stunning a black man accused of jaywalking

Nine body camera videos released by the city of Asheville, North Carolina, on Monday show a police officer, Christopher Hickman, aggressively assaulting a man, Johnnie Rush, who was stopped on suspicion of jaywalking.

Rush, who is black, was walking home from work when he was confronted by Hickman, who is white, as well as a second officer, Verino Ruggiero, who was still in training. The officers told Rush he had "just committed four crimes in a row": trespassing by walking across a parking lot and jaywalking "again and again."

"All I'm trying to do is go home, man," Rush replied. Asked why it's too hard to use a crosswalk, he sought to diffuse the situation. "You're right," he said. "It's not, sir. It's not. I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. You're right."

Ruggiero seemed content to write Rush a ticket, but after Rush commented that the police could make better use of their time, Hickman moved to arrest him. "You know what's funny is you're gonna get f‑‑‑ed up hardcore," Hickman said. "Get on the ground." He soon had Rush in a stranglehold, punching him seven to 10 times before using a stun gun to zap him and hit him on the head. "I beat the s‑‑t out of his head. I'm not gonna lie about that," Hickman said after the fact.

All charges against Rush were eventually dropped. Hickman has been fired and charged with felony assault by strangulation, as well as misdemeanor assault and misdemeanor threats. His attorney believes he will be acquitted by a jury.