Friday, March 9, 2018

Community Reactions, Concerns and Questions following Leaked Policy Bodycam Video

The City of Asheville held a community meeting Tuesday, March 6, 2018 to discuss the events surrounding the leaked video of the Asheville Police officer use of force against a jaywalker which was made public February 28, 2018.  Hundreds attended the event while it was also live streamed by local newstation, WLOS.  Since then the leaking of the video and the live stream community event, there have been numerous reactions across the community and nationally.

Here's a roundup of the events, reactions, questions and concerns so far:

APD were asked by City Council to take action against jaywalkers
Chad Nesbitt and reporter for Leicester Leader raises the issue that the APD were requested by Council and the Mayor back in 2014 to start taking action against jaywalkers due to the high number of pedestrian accidents in the City.  You can see the post below.  Does this justify the actions? Has the APD equally enforced this law? How many citations has it written for this?

Resign Resign Resign

Although City Police Chief has offered to resign if that's what the community wants, others feel that the City Manager, Gary Jackson, City Mayor Esther Manheimer, and the ADP Supervisor should also resign.   Some comments were wondering why Rush stayed quiet for so long. 

You can read the City Letter written and distributed by former councilman, Chris Peterson, on this website and the reactions there:

NextDoor Community chimes in

On the NextDoor community app, members also chimed in to the question posted, "Should the Mayor and Police Chief step down for the continued excuses? What does the community think and/or feel about the situation?"  Reactions went both ways with some saying the community shouldn't judge yet without all the details while others say the details have been released. 

Release of information - proper or improper? What are the boundaries?

Public but private personal information
March 8, 2018 - Joel Burgess, The Citizen-Times reporter who initially released the video incident also was at the jail when APD officer Chris Hickman, was released on March 8th  He obtained copies of the warrant and published those on the Citizen-Times website without redacting his personal information, including his address and social security number. Though the warrants are public information, should he have released those personal details?

Necessary but illegal release of Police Video 
March 9, 2018 - Carolina Public Press wrote an article addressing the concerns and legal issues surrounding the leaked policy bodycam video, noting it requires a court order to release such videos. You can read the article here: Restricted access to police beating video raises concerns about NC law

National Not-So-Positive Attention

While Asheville is known for its many accolades and top 10 listings in tourism publications, this is one story the City isn't proud of at it makes its way through national media.  Here are some of the headlines:

New York Times, "Outrage over footage of a police officer beating a black man in North Carolina."
CNN, "North Carolina police officer faces charges after beating, choking and tasing suspected jaywalker."
New York Daily News, "FBI now investigating North Carolina officer in jaywalking beating."

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