SOCIAL SOLUTIONS: Senior Police Officer Doug Sheehan, along with others members of the Asheville Police Department Housing Unit, attend a Johnston Elementary School ice cream social. Local officers devote time and energy to socializing and trying to build relationships in the face of broad disillusionment in black communities. Photo courtesy of APD

Culture clash: Facing up to Asheville’s troubled police-community relations

The task of establishing and/or re-establishing trust between vulnerable communities — especially people of color — and the Asheville Police Department will be a challenging one. And especially in the wake of controversial police use of force over the summer, there is vocal criticism of the department. But the way Chief Tammy Hooper sees it, the APD must rise to that challenge.

REACHING OUT: James Lee is working with the Racial Justice Coalition to build a bridge by which vulnerable communities can have input on they way they are policed. The formation of an unprecedented community policy work group seems to be a step in that direction. Lee initially contacted chief Hooper and other city leaders about putting together a work group. Photo by Able Allen

Asheville groups seek common ground on city police Use of Force policy

While July was marked by a series of protests, rallies and demands for changes to the APD’s approach to policing in the city’s marginalized communities — especially its 11 public housing neighborhoods — August saw a shift in tone, with the outline of a collaborative process arising out of discussions among the APD, City Council and a wide range of community groups convened by the Racial Justice Coalition.

Jai Lateef “Jerry” Williams died July 2, 2016, when he was shot by police. Facts of the case remain under SBI investigation. Photo via Facebook

Carolina Public Press reports: Jai Lateef Williams had previously faced felony charges, questions mount

By Frank Taylor, Carolina Public Press This story is from Carolina Public Press, a nonprofit online news service focused on in-depth and investigative reporting in Western North Carolina. ASHEVILLE – Contrary to several previous news media reports, Jai Lateef “Jerry” Williams had faced charges of serious criminal activity prior to July 2 when an Asheville Police Officer shot him, […]