Asheville Police

Matt Bush / Blue Ridge Public Radio

(UPDATE 10:45 p.m.) Asheville City Council Tuesday night approved a roughly 3% cut to the city police department’s budget.  The plan was crafted after council members delayed approving a full city budget after a group of Black activists sought cuts in police spending, with money being reinvested in Asheville's Black community.  

On Thursday July 23rd, Blue Ridge Public Radio hosted a live Zoom panel to discuss police funding in Asheville.  BPR News Presents: A Conversation On Policing In Asheville, is hosted by BPR's Matt Peiken.  His guests discussing the call to defund the Asheville police department include Robert Thomas of the Racial Justice Coalition, Zaria Abdulkarim of Democracy NC, retired UNC Asheville professor and founder of The State of Black Asheville report Dr.

Asheville Police

Asheville police arrested a man Friday whom they say twice threatened and intimidated employees of two different Walmart's in the city, one of which was caught on video which subsequently went viral.

Of 911 calls and requests for assistance to Asheville Police, less than 1 percent involve a violent crime, an AVL Watchdog analysis of police dispatch data shows.

Asheville Arrest Data Suggest Discrimination Against Black People

Jun 22, 2020

African-Americans in Asheville are three times more likely than white people to be searched by police in traffic stops and are disproportionately charged with common crimes such as marijuana possession in disparities that experts in police bias called shocking, an AVL Watchdog analysis of police data found.

Cass Herrington / BPR News

The phrase “Defund The Police” could be seen from the skies on a street outside the Asheville Police Department Sunday. A group of artists and activists assembled to paint the bright yellow letters -- and a few hours later, they were met by counter protestors with blue paint. 

Matt Bush / Blue Ridge Public Radio

Asheville city council will meet on Tuesday evening.  It's the first meeting since last week's protests, which culminated with a list of demands from a collective of black leaders from city government, which included cutting funds for the city police department and using the money to invest in the black community.

Matt Bush / Blue Ridge Public Radio

Starting Sunday May 31st, marchers in Asheville were in Pack Square each night for an entire week, calling for justice for George Floyd and other African Americans who have died at the hands of law enforcement in the U.S.  

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On Thurs., Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer is expected to meet with organizers of a medic station set up to support protestors.

Matt Bush

(Thursday 10:00 p.m.) - Thursday night’s vigil in Pack Square went off peacefully, with protesters leaving as organizers urged before the 8 p.m. curfew went into effect.  

'We Proved That We Can': Pandemic Speeds Criminal Justice Reforms

May 5, 2020
Buncombe County Sheriff's Office

Coronavirus has led to dramatic changes in crime and justice in Asheville from the courtroom to the cop on the street.

Reported crimes are down, police are making fewer arrests and inmates are being sprung from jail.

Asheville’s new police chief is resigning after less than two months on the job.  The city announced this morning in a press release that police chief Chris Bailey is stepping down for ‘personal reasons.’ 

Picture of a white police car in an empty parking lot, trees in background.
policecararchives.org

New Asheville police chief Chris Bailey steps into his role in the wake of events that have created distrust in communities of color. In July, the Asheville Police Department apologized for statements on gang activity in the area which were criticized as racial profiling.  

Cass Herrington

Asheville residents Tuesday night got the chance to weigh in on qualities they’d like to see in the next chief of police. But much of the discussion centered on how the public meeting was promoted and who was missing from the conversation.

City Manager Debra Campbell looked out over a mostly empty auditorium at the Doctor Wesley Grant South Side Center. Joining her were three consultants representing the Police Executive Research Forum, or PERF, which is helping conduct the national search to fill the position.

 

Asheville police chief Tammy Hooper says the department is in a better place than it was three years ago when she arrived.  It's one of many reasons why Hooper gave her resignation this week.

Asheville police Tammy Hooper will resign her post.  Her last day with the department will be January 2nd, 2019.  According to a press release put out Wednesday morning by Asheville interim city manager Cathy Ball, Hooper is resigning to pursue consulting opportunities.

A report commissioned by the city of Asheville criticizes two Asheville police officers for not intervening when a then city police officer was beating and choking an unarmed black pedestrian last August. 

Wikicommons

Asheville city council meets Tuesday evening for the first time in a month, and items related the city’s police department headline the agenda.  

Former Asheville police officer Chris Hickman will not face federal charges for his role in the beating of an unarmed black man last August, the office of U.S.

In a move that supporters believe will aid in reducing racial disparities in the city, Asheville police will soon have to get written consent to search vehicles they’ve pulled over instead of just asking for it as is done currently.  City council approved the switch Tuesday by a 5-2 vote.  Cases where police have ‘probable cause’ to search a vehicle that’s been stopped will not be affected. 

Asheville police say four people are dead and three others were injured in a shooting that occurred late Wednesday evening in West Asheville.  The suspect in the case, identified as 35-year-old Maurice Laron Garner, is among the deceased.  Police say he died from a self inflicted gunshot wound.  He was found in a vehicle not far from the residence on Hansel Avenue where the shooting took place.

Nine body camera videos were released via court order Monday that depict the beating of an unarmed black man last August and its aftermath by a then-Asheville police officer, who now faces criminal charges for the incident.

Wikicommons

Asheville city council has decided to replace embattled city manager Gary Jackson, effective at the end of the business day Tuesday.  Jackson’s ouster after 13 years on the job was announced by mayor Esther Manheimer during a Tuesday afternoon city council meeting.  Earlier this year, Jackson announced he was retiring at the end of 2018.  But that was before the release of video footage showing a then-Asheville police officer beating an unarmed black man last August.  That video, from a police body camera, only came to light because it was leaked to the Asheville Citizen-Times, which publi

NC Body Cam Law Leaves Release Up to Judges

Mar 15, 2018
ASHEVILLE CITIZEN TIMES/ASHEVILLE POLICE DEPARTMENT

Leaked video of an Asheville police officer beating an unarmed black man accused of jaywalking has brought renewed attention to the North Carolina law regarding the release of police body cam footage.  Lauren Horsch of NC Insider reports the Asheville incident is being cited by the law's critics as an example of its weaknesses.  She spoke with BPR's Jeremy Loeb.

Wikicommons

Asheville city council is scheduled to meet twice on Tuesday, its first regularly scheduled meetings since the release of a body camera video that showed a then-city police officer beating an unarmed black man last year.  

Buncombe County DA

(UPDATE Thursday 9:40 p.m.) -  Buncombe County District Attorney Todd Williams announced in a press release late Thursday that former Asheville police officer Chris Hickman will face three criminal charges for the August beating of an unarmed black man.  Hickman and an officer in training stopped Johnnie Rush for suspected jaywalking and trespassing  late on the night of August 24th on Short Coxe Avenue.  Hickman beat, choked and shocked Rush with a stun gun.  The charges detailed Thursday night against Hickman - who resigned from the police force in January - are one count each of assault

Wikicommons

Asheville city council has called a closed session special meeting for Monday evening to discuss a video released this week showing a then-Asheville police officer beating an unarmed black man last August.  The video, published by the Asheville Citizen-Times, shows officer Chris Hickman beating and shocking with a stun gun Johnnie Jermaine Rush.  Hickman had stopped Rush for suspected jaywalking and trespassing August 24th. 

Wikicommons

Efforts to promote racial and ethnic equity in Asheville should include community forums focusing on traffic stop data from city police.  That’s one of many recommendations a study group that’s proposing a ‘human relations commission’ in Asheville gave to city council Tuesday.  That group is also asking the city to expand its Office of Equity and Inclusion from one to four employees.  The current head of that office, Kimberlee Archie, was just hired last year. 

The Asheville city council is scheduled to adopt a budget for the coming fiscal year at its next meeting on June 13th.  Among the many spending requests lawmakers received is one from the Asheville Police Department, which is seeking $1-million to hire 15 new officers.  Police chief Tammy Hooper says it's needed to address a surge in crime in the downtown area, most likely caused by increases in tourists visiting the city.

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