Former Asheville officer pleads guilty in assault of black pedestrian

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ASHEVILLE, N.C. — A former Asheville police officer accused of choking, beating and using a stun gun on a black pedestrian has pleaded guilty to communicating threats, assault inflicting serious injury, and felony assault by strangulation, WLOS reports.

Christopher Hickman, 32, was accused of using excessive force after stopping pedestrian Johnnie Rush on suspicion of jaywalking in a 2017 incident.

Hickman was charged with felony assault by strangulation, assault inflicting serious injury and communicating threats, and appears to have pleaded guilty to all three charges.

Despite what would have been a sentence of 39 months, the plea arrangement is 12 months of supervised probation and participating in a restorative justice program.

In an August 2018 civil settlement over the incident, the City of Asheville agreed to pay Johnnie Rush a total of $650,000.

In January of 2019, Rush, was arrested after police found marijuana and cocaine in his possession at his Eagle Street apartment.

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