Asheville leaders to examine protocol for reporting use-of-force complaints against APD

Interim assistant city manager Jade Dundas said police chief Tammy Hooper told him just days after the incident happened. (Photo credit: WLOS staff)

As the mayor of Asheville and city council members questioned why they did not know about one of their officers beating a suspected jaywalker, News 13 sat down with one man who did know.

Interim assistant city manager Jade Dundas said police chief Tammy Hooper told him just days after the incident happened.

Former Asheville police officer Chris Hickman tased, choked and beat Johnnie Rush on Aug. 25.

Six months later, Mayor Esther Manheimer found out about what happened after the video — obtained by the Asheville Citizen-Times — was released.

"My first thought was, 'Is this real?'" Manheimer said. "I thought, how is it possible that I don't know about this? How is it possible that this happened in August and not one word was spoken to council about this?"

Hooper said she followed protocol and alerted Dundas just days after the arrest.

"[I alerted him] because he's the interim assistant city manager,” Hooper said. “I think [Gary Jackson] should've been told, but that's not my reporting chain."

Dundas said he did not tell Jackson.

"It was not part of protocol," Dundas said.

Dundas said there was no protocol for a situation like the arrest of Rush.

"Like I said, we're working on trying to identify the protocol for that in the future," Dundas said.

In fact, Dundas said, after the conversation with Hooper in August and the release of the video by the Citizen-Times, he did not talk to anyone.

“I wouldn't of told anyone, at that point, between those two times," Dundas said.

Dundas was not able to comment on the conversation he had with Hooper in August.

"I don't recall the details of the conversation," Dundas said

He added that he did not see the video until it was released by the Citizen-Times.

"I saw the video when it was posted last week," Dundas said.

Dundas said, following his August conversation with Hooper, he never did talk to her about it, again, either.

"It wasn't a conversation that we were continuously ongoing. It was mentioned, there was some assurances and the confidence that the chief would handle it," Dundas said.

News 13 asked Dundas how he might have handled the situation differently.

"Certainly, asking the questions of the chief will be important in the future to understand how to develop this protocol,” Dundas said. “I mean, really, what is it that we need to look for? It's a learning experience, and it's an unfortunate situation that did occur, and we are very sorry."

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