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Former Asheville police officer Hickman indicted

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Former Asheville police officer Christopher Hickman, the man who appeared in leaked bodycam footage that surfaced in spring 2018, has been indicted by a grand jury, his attorney confirmed Wednesday. (Photo credit: WLOS staff)

Former Asheville police officer Christopher Hickman, the man who appeared in leaked bodycam footage that surfaced in spring 2018, has been indicted by a grand jury, his attorney confirmed Wednesday.

Hickman was indicted Monday on multiple charges, including felony assault by strangulation, misdemeanor assault inflicting serious injury and communicating threats.

The charges stem from the Aug. 25, 2017, arrest of pedestrian Johnnie Rush for jaywalking. Body camera footage of the arrest shows Hickman repeatedly punching Rush in the head after Rush tried to run.

An arrest warrant for Hickman notes that he struck Rush multiple times, causing abrasions and swelling to his head. The warrant said Rush lost consciousness when Hickman placed his arm on his throat and applied pressure.

"We are cautiously encouraged to see that the wheels of justice are turning, though slowly," Rush's attorney James Ferguson said in an email.

Hickman's attorney Thomas Amburgey said he learned of his client's indictment Thursday morning.

Last month, the U.S. attorney declined to file federal civil rights charges against Hickman.

Citizens Police Advisory Committee chairman Larry Holt said it is unfair to paint the whole police force with the actions of one individual.

"We need the community to come back together and resolve these issues," he said. "The purpose of CPAC is to listen and advise council, and the advice would be, let's move on with it and let's get this resolved.

"I would like to see this move ahead, and I hope justice can be served. It's probably going to be tough to get a jury that hasn't heard about it or seen the videos."

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