For NC Lawmakers And Asheville Police, A Week Of Controversy
North Carolina Rep. Duane Hall (D-Wake) was met with harsh criticism from other Democratic lawmakers, including Gov. Roy Cooper, when he refused to step down amid claims of sexual harassment by multiple women.
Now Hall says the group that published the claims, NC Policy Watch, has a vendetta against him because of a relationship he terminated with a member of its parent group. NC Policy Watch is a news and commentary outlet that is part of the liberal advocacy group NC Justice Center. Meanwhile, Speaker of the House Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) is under fire from a watchdog ethics group. Critics say Moore used his influence to avoid fines at a poultry plant that he co-owns.
And in Asheville, citizens are outraged at body camera footage of former Asheville police officer Chris Hickman beating and using a stun gun on an unarmed black man, Johnnie Jermaine Rush, who was accused of jaywalking and trespassing. The incident occurred last August but was brought to light after the body camera footage was leaked to the Asheville Citizen-Times. Now, both the Asheville Police Department and the FBI have launched criminal investigations into Hickman.
Host Frank Stasio talks to WUNC Capitol Bureau Chief Jeff Tiberii about the drama ensnaring state lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. He also talks to Matt Bush, news director at Blue Ridge Public Radio, about questions of excessive force by the former Asheville officer and the racial climate in Asheville.
Correction: The timeline of the Asheville incident was stated inaccurately at two points during the original interview. Former police officer Hickman resigned in January, prior to the camera footage being leaked to the Asheville Citizen-Times.