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Dept. of Justice subpoenas Asheville for documents related to Rush, Hickman incident

Asheville police representatives confirm Captain Stony Gonce is on paid investigative suspension. (Photo credit: WLOS staff)

The City of Asheville has turned over a number of documents to federal prosecutors surrounding a use of force case between a city resident and a former police officer.

The subpoena says the US Department of Justice is investigating the possible deprivation of rights, and that the investigation involves one or more current or former Asheville Police Department (APD) officers.

The subpoena asked for information related to the arrest of Johnnie Rush and information related to allegations of excessive force by former APD officer Chris Hickman.

Asheville police arrested Rush on August 25, 2017. His charges included assault on a government official.

Body camera footage of the incident shows Hickman striking Rush in the head during the arrest. Hickman was charged with assault by strangulation, assault inflicting serious injury and communicating threats on March 8, 2018, after footage of the incident was leaked to the media.

The subpoena asked for all information pertaining to Rush's arrest and beating.

Federal prosecutors also asked for information relating to another August arrest, as well as any videos associated with Hickman, and all reports written by, or that include, Hickman.

Records show Hickman resigned in January 2018.

The City of Asheville received a subpoena in early March after the story broke. The city also received a subpoena to appear before a grand jury, which met on Tuesday.

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