Facebook-savvy police surprise Patton Avenue cruisers and call for moderation

When West Asheville cruisers on Patton Avenue used Facebook to organize a Sept. 3 gathering, the Asheville Police Department turned up too — but the cops’ intention was to quiet the party. “Contrary to popular belief, we don’t want to shut it down for you all. I mean, what is there to do in town?” asked the lead officer. “The only thing we’re asking for is a little bit of cooperation and exercise a little bit of common sense out here. Okay?”

His audience seemed to enjoy the attention and be amenable to the APD’s requests.

Showing that the APD isn’t the only social-media-savvy bunch, CarGuyVideos captured the exchange with his video camera and published it on YouTube.

Here’s what the police told the gathering:

Here’s a look at the general scene that evening:

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About Jeff Fobes
As a long-time proponent of media for social change, my early activities included coordinating the creation of a small community FM radio station to serve a poor section of St. Louis, Mo. In the 1980s I served as the editor of the "futurist" newsletter of the U.S. Association for the Club of Rome, a professional/academic group with a global focus and a mandate to act locally. During that time, I was impressed by a journalism experiment in Mississippi, in which a newspaper reporter spent a year in a small town covering how global activities impacted local events (e.g., literacy programs in Asia drove up the price of pulpwood; soybean demand in China impacted local soybean prices). Taking a cue from the Mississippi journalism experiment, I offered to help the local Green Party in western North Carolina start its own newspaper, which published under the name Green Line. Eventually the local party turned Green Line over to me, giving Asheville-area readers an independent, locally focused news source that was driven by global concerns. Over the years the monthly grew, until it morphed into the weekly Mountain Xpress in 1994. I've been its publisher since the beginning. Mountain Xpress' mission is to promote grassroots democracy (of any political persuasion) by serving the area's most active, thoughtful readers. Consider Xpress as an experiment to see if such a media operation can promote a healthy, democratic and wise community. In addition to print, today's rapidly evolving Web technosphere offers a grand opportunity to see how an interactive global information network impacts a local community when the network includes a locally focused media outlet whose aim is promote thoughtful citizen activism.

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