UPDATE 9:50 a.m. Tuesday - Asheville police have arrested 38-year-old Michael Patrick Faulkner and charged him with simple assault for the incident that took place Sunday evening at a demonstration in Pack Square. The Asheville native is charged with assaulting a WLOS television reporter during a Facebook live stream. Earlier story below -
Asheville police are searching for a suspect they say assaulted a news reporter during Sunday evening's protest at Pack Square. The man (photo above) is accused of assaulting a reporter from WLOS television during a Facebook live stream. If anyone has any information on the identify of the suspect they are encouraged to contact the Asheville Police Department at 828-252-1110 or Buncombe County Crime Stoppers at 828-255-5050. The demonstration Sunday evening came in response to the death of a counter protestor at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Those gathered encircled the Vance Monument, with sporadic chants of 'Tear It Down' heard. Vance was North Carolina's governor during the Civil War and U.S. Senator during the post-war Reconstruction period. A small group of protestors at the march directed chants at police officers, though others in attendance asked that those chants stop, saying the point of the demonstration was to honor Heather Heyer, the woman who was killed in Charlottesville.
Meanwhile, Asheville mayor Esther Manheimer released a statement Monday morning on the events in Charlottesville -
In the wake of the tragic events in Charlottesville, Va., the Asheville community condemns the actions of people who espouse hate speak against any race or ethnicity, and especially those who promote white supremacy.
Let us be clear that inclusion and diversity are core values of the City of Asheville. City Council’s Vision 2036 promotes our city as a diverse community, one that values cultural diversity and social and economic equity. The City recently embarked on an equity initiative with the hiring of the City’s first Equity and Inclusion Manager.
In 2013, the Asheville City Council adopted a “Resolution Endorsing the Protection of Civil Liberties for all Citizens.” In this resolution, the Council affirms its pledge to “uphold the constitutional rights and civil liberties of any and all persons…and to protect against discrimination on the basis of race, skin color, national or ethnic origin, gender, sexual orientation, mental or physical disability, immigration status, religious or political opinion or activity, or homed or homeless status.”
As Mayor of Asheville, I will continue to stand up for the civil liberties and human rights of all people in our community.