Former Asheville Police officer charged with assault
From the Asheville Citizen-Times:
The police officer seen in a body cam video beating a city resident accused of jaywalking and trespassing through the parking lot of closed business has been criminally charged and arrested in the incident.
District Attorney Todd Williams announced Thursday night that former officer Chris Hickman, 31, is facing charges of felony assault by strangulation, and misdemeanor assault inflicting serious injury and communicating threats. Johnnie Jermaine Rush is seen in the video being beaten in the head by Hickman, as well as choked. After a Taser is picked up, a clicking and humming noise is heard as Rush cries out in pain.
The FBI is also investigating - likely to determine if the former officer violated Rush's civil rights.
Meanwhile, the Police Chief offered her resignation.
Hooper made the announcement during a contentious Citizen Police Advisory Committee meeting, where hundreds of people packed into the Dr. Wesley Grant Sr. Southside Center Auditorium to express their outrage.
"I am happy to resign if that will solve the problem," said Hooper to loud shouts. "If you want me to resign, it is as simple as that."
Later, the Chief implied that the department has determined who leaked the video to the newspaper (although the crowd seemed to interpret her remarks as proof the department dropped the probe):
Multiple people in the crowd asked Hooper if the leaking of the video, which showed Rush getting repeatedly punched in the head by white officers, was still under investigation.
"We are no longer investigating that," Hooper said to cheers. "I can say that discipline occurred in more than one officer in this case."
Most of the City Council is defending Chief Hooper, saying she should not resign. But they want changes to protocol and reporting.
The Council put out a press release that began:
Like you, we are angry. We are angry that a black man walking home from a long day at work was stopped for jaywalking — something most of us do regularly without consequence. We are angry that Johnnie Rush was attacked, beaten, choked and tased by a white police officer in violation of City policy and common decency. We are angry that, even with all the efforts to improve relationships between the police and the community, even with an improved use of force policy, this could still happen here. And we are furious that no one thought that we — Asheville’s elected leaders — needed to know about this incident.
The Council wants to root out all the institutional and structural racism inside the structure and institution.
Asheville City Council is committed to making deep, structural changes needed to help prevent this from happening again.
City Council will call for an audit of the Asheville Police Department by a third party, such as the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), to determine the degree to which structural racism and implicit and explicit bias continue to contribute to the operations and actions of the department and its officers.
The Council then tells the cops to take a hike if they're racist.
Finally, a word to our police officers who viewed this video and were angry or ashamed, or otherwise rejected what you saw. We say thank you. We welcome you to stay and continue the transformation of our police department into one that reflects the best policies and practices available. Likewise, to any officers who may not have been disturbed by this, we want to make it clear that Asheville has zero tolerance for racism or excessive use of force by our officers.
While more studying, data collection, and training are worthwhile, I'm not sure how much impact it has on "improving the trust" between law enforcement and African-Americans.
One possible solution I have not seen mentioned or discussed: more black cops.
I'd also love to see larger examinations of the breakdown of the nuclear family, an iconoclastic view of authority, as well as a celebration of a subculture of criminality and what impact these have on interactions with law enforcement.
How eliminating context distorts debate
The other day the News & Observer ran a big story on how teachers don't want to have the option to be armed while at work.
Here's how it was reported:
Most North Carolina educators think it’s a bad idea to let teachers carry guns in the classroom, and they say arming teachers would make schools less safe and harm the learning environment, according to a newly released poll.
Support for the idea was framed like this:
The survey showed a vocal minority of teachers want the option to be armed, thinking it could save lives if a shooter showed up at their school. Twenty-five percent of the teachers surveyed said “yes” or “maybe” to carrying a gun in their classroom if they were allowed to do so.
Now, look at this...
That 600,000 figure means about 12% of North Carolinian adults have conceal carry permits.
This indicates support for conceal carry (and likely acquisition of the CC permits) is about twice what you'd expect to see in the population at large.
The question is not whether "All teachers should be armed." It's "Should teachers have the option to conceal carry, if they choose."
In this article we can see how misinformation and dishonest framing of the issue affects the discussion:
“Look, I don’t want to die, and I don’t want to kill anyone,” said Leigh Sanders, a sixth-grade English teacher at Swift Creek Middle School in Johnston County. “I want to teach, and if anyone wants to arm teachers, please for the love of country, let it be with school supplies, nurses, counselors and, above all else, trust.”
This educator constructs a false choice - by pitting a personal choice to conceal carry with taxpayer-funded budgets for school supplies and personnel.
She also urges "anyone who wants to arm teachers" to, instead, arm teachers with "trust" ... while arguing that teachers should not be trusted to conceal carry because she doesn't want to.
NC beer caps lawsuit
A lawsuit challenging two state law regulating how much beer a brewery can distribute has been scheduled for a hearing.
From the Carolina Journal:
The original complaint sought a permanent injunction against enforcement of the state’s distribution cap and franchise laws. It says the distribution cap and franchise laws are inflicting injury and threaten to impose additional damage to the brewers.
It says the “arbitrary” distribution cap punishes craft breweries for their own success by forcing them to relinquish distribution rights if they sell more than 25,000 barrels each year. (A barrel of beer is 31 gallons.) The franchise law results in “oppressive, one-sided contractors with distributors that literally last forever. … ”
The first hearing is set for next Friday.
Here are some of the other stories I was tracking over the last two days while my show was off-air...