For Immediate Release
March 9, 2018
Ben Scales to Hold Press Conference on Police Beating Case
Local Lawyer and Activist Plans to Address District Attorney’s Misconduct
Asheville, NC–Ben Scales, local lawyer and activist, will address the public directly to evaluate the response of District Attorney, Todd Williams, concerning the case of former Officer Christopher Hickman beating Johnnie Jermaine Rush in August 2017, under allegations of jaywalking and trespassing. Scales will hold a press conference outside of the Buncombe County Courthouse at 1pm on Friday, March 9, to discuss his stance on how the case has been mishandled in its entirety. He will be joined by Asheville City Councilperson, Sheneika Smith, as well.
“Given the information I have, I can’t find fault with APD’s official response to this incident,” said Scales. “The Chief immediately alerted the DA and the City Attorney to the situation, so the Chief did her job. But the DA had to be shamed into doing his job. If someone hadn’t broken the law and released that video, Johnnie Jermaine Rush’s story would’ve never been heard.”
The DA office charged Officer Hickman on March 8, 2018, with charges for assault by strangulation, assault inflicting serious injury, and communicating threats. While Williams’ office had previously dismissed the case in September 2017, leaked camera footage in February 2018 revealed further disturbing details about misconduct in the case. National news headlines had been released on Wednesday morning about the Rush incident, creating increased public dialogue.
“The DA office’s handling of this case comes at too extreme of a delay to give merit, once the story gained enough public traction to no longer be silenced,” Scales commented. “I hope the city continues to pursue its petition to have all of the officer's body camera footage from that night released. This is not over by a long shot; justice will be served.”
WHO: Ben Scales, Democratic candidate for Buncombe County District Attorney
WHAT: Press conference
WHERE: Outside of Buncombe County Courthouse, 60 Court Plaza, Asheville, NC 28801
WHEN: Friday, March 9, at 1pm
WHY: To address the misconduct of District Attorney Todd Williams in handling the case of the police beating of Johnnie Jermaine Rush in August 2017.
Ben Scales is a Democratic candidate for North Carolina District Attorney 40. As a lawyer, activist, and musician, he has devoted his personal and professional life to service to his community for the past 15 years. He will transform a broken District Attorney’s Office into one that focuses on the offenders who commit the most serious crimes in Buncombe County. He will lead the fight for a fair and effective criminal justice system. For more information, please visit his website at www.scalesforda.com and Facebook at facebook.com/scalesforda.