Joel Burgess

White polie officer Chris Hickman sits during his trial.
Angela Wilhelm/Asheville Citizen Times

Earlier this month former Asheville police officer Christopher Hickman pled guilty to felony assault in the 2017 case involving black pedestrian Johnny Rush. Hickman was charged in March 2018 after footage of him choking and violently beating Rush was leaked to the media. Now, Hickman could see his charges dismissed after one year if he follows through on a first-of-its-kind restorative justice program.

Image of Asheville police car
Osajus / Flickr Creative Commons

African-Americans in Asheville are far more likely to be charged with resisting an officer during a police encounter than white people. A five-year analysis of arrest records from the Asheville Citizen-Times shows that 35 percent of resisting an officer charges — sometimes called “resist, delay, obstruct” or RDO — were made against African-Americans, even though black people are only 12 percent of the Asheville population.

DeWayne Barton in the Burton Street Peace Gardens
Angeli Wright / Asheville Citizen-Times

A highway expansion project in Asheville is set to destroy several homes in a historically black community for the third time. Parts of the Burton Street Neighborhood in West Asheville were demolished by state highway projects in the 1950s and 1960s. Now the proposed Interstate 26 connection project will go through the neighborhood again.

photo of the airbnb website, with pictures of rooms for rent
www.airbnb.com/a/Asheville

The Asheville City Council voted to severely restrict tourist rentals in Asheville earlier this year. The new rules state that rentals that had city permits before the vote can stay in business.

photo of Chris Hickman conversing with other officers, johnnie rush is handcuffed in the background
City of Asheville

Asheville resident Johnnie Jermaine Rush was walking home from work on Aug. 24, 2017 when he was stopped by police for jaywalking. Rush felt he was being harassed and ran away to avoid arrest. Bodycam video of the incident was leaked to the Asheville Citizen Times in February 2018, and it went viral. 

Asheville 'Bans The Box'

Feb 3, 2016
Asheville is removing questions from city job applications that ask about criminal convictions. The city hopes to remove this hindrance for job seekers who have a criminal history.
Kathryn Decker / Flickr Creative Commons

Asheville passed a policy last week that will remove any question about criminal convictions from city job applications.

Proponents want to “ban the box” that job seekers check for convictions because they claim it puts previous criminals at a disadvantage. Though this doesn’t preclude private companies from including questions about criminal histories, the city hopes to lead by example.