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Assault charged dropped for North Carolina police officer

A former North Carolina police officer who pleaded guilty to the 2017 beating of a black pedestrian has had his charge dismissed after a year’s probation and a first of its kind program.

Tuesday’s ruling in Buncombe County Superior Court follows completion of a program aimed at bringing healing to the victim and the Asheville community, news sources reported. Activists criticized it as failing to deal with harm caused by the beating, choking and shocking of Johnnie Rush by ex-Asheville police officer Christopher Hickman, who was charged with felony assault in the incident.

The court hearing included revelations by Buncombe County District Attorney Todd Williams about what he said were police mistakes in the case that hampered its prosecution. Attorneys also revealed that, during Hickman’s probation, he worked in a peace garden in a historic African American community.

Hickman’s attorney, Thomas Amburgey, argued that aside from all other factors, his client had done what was required under the probation.

Rush was beaten after he was accused of jaywalking. The city settled the case with him in 2018 for $650,000.

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