NC sheriff slams call for more training after new videos of UOF incident released
Sheriff Van Duncan said the proposals for more police training are "a slap in the face"
By Police1 Staff
ASHEVILLE, N.C. — A North Carolina sheriff criticized three commissioners’ proposal for more police training after additional video of a use-of-force incident was released.
On Tuesday, three Buncombe county commissioners called for funding UOF and other police training for LEOs in the county, the Asheville Citizen-Times reports. The proposals come in the wake of new body cam footage released Monday that shows additional angles of the UOF incident involving former Asheville Officer Christopher Hickman.
The commissioners also called for creating a human rights commission and an independent team to review BWC footage and provide legal assistance with filing reports on UOF incidents.
Sheriff Van Duncan said the commissioners’ proposals are “a slap in the face” and that they “basically told their sheriff and their sheriff’s office that the hard work we have done over the past 12 years has counted for nothing."
Duncan added that the commissioners were using the Hickman incident to “drive a very anti-law enforcement agenda.”
In August 2017, Hickman accused Johnnie Jermaine Rush of jaywalking and subdued him after Rush fled from the officer. Footage of the incident was leaked last month and sparked outrage in the community.
New videos released Monday show Rush being hit in the face, TASERed and put in a hold by Hickman.
Duncan said the commissioners’ proposals reflect what’s already being implemented at the department, including de-escalation training and TASER policy changes. He added that he opposed any mandatory policy review and that he’s open to additional training but says it’ll impact available personnel.
"I don't think you want people with no law enforcement experience or understanding directly dictating what training we do without actually running it through some of those folks who spent their career doing this job and doing this training," he said.
Hickman, who resigned in January, was arrested last month and faces several charges, including assault by strangulation. Hickman’s lawyer Thomas Amburgey said the former officer showed no criminal intent to harm Rush, according to the Associated Press.
“It’s unfortunate that so many individuals have rushed to judge my client. I am confident that when a fair and impartial jury hears the whole story that Mr. Hickman will be acquitted,” Amburgey said in a statement.