Ben Scales for District Attorney of Buncombe County
Press Releases Category

Press Release - March 9, 2018

Press Release


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 officers 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 and Facebook at


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Ashley McDermott

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Posted on 09 Mar 2018, 10:47 - Category: Press Releases

Press Release - March 2, 2018

Two incidents have recently been in the news that perfectly illustrate why we need change in the Buncombe County District Attorney’s Office.

On February 13, the District Attorney allowed a career criminal, who had repeatedly assaulted a police officer with a stun gun, to walk out of jail on plea deal. To get the judge to accept the plea, the Chief Assistant DA misled the court stating that “officers are OK with the plea arrangement,” when in fact, the officers had not even been consulted.

Then, yesterday, we learned that over the summer, a different police officer beat and tazed a man for allegedly jaywalking late at night across a deserted street. (It’s only jaywalking if he failed to yield the right of way to a “vehicle upon the roadway.”) The officer then taunted the man for having a sweaty and bloody face and for bleeding on the officer. This incident only came to light because an anonymous whistleblower leaked the officer’s body cam video to the press. Despite having access to this video since at least last September, the District Attorney has taken no action against anyone involved in the assault.

In both of these the cases, the District Attorney failed to stand up for the victims of malicious assaults. One victim was a police officer. The other victim was an African-American man walking home after working a 13-hour shift at a restaurant.

Whether to prosecute violent crime shouldn’t be a hard decision to make, regardless of who the victim or the perpetrator are. The public should demand to know who knew what and when in each of these cases.

Who signed off on these actions, and who’s responsible for the inactions?

What other cases are out there, where the victim was not a cop, or where the body cam video has not been leaked, and the rights of the victim have been ignored or trampled?

Buncombe County deserves better. That’s why I’m running for DA. Early voting starts April 19.

I pledge to work with the police and the courts, with honesty and transparency, to achieve real justice for victims and others caught up in the criminal justice system.

Press inquiries welcome: 828-401-0180 (voicemail)

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Posted on 07 Mar 2018, 2:05 - Category: Press Releases

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