Statement from Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer:
As Mayor of the City of Asheville, I respect and support community members’ right to peacefully protest. I share the grief and outrage evoked by injustices repeatedly suffered by so many black and brown people in our country. And I know Asheville to be a community that expresses our beliefs and opinions peacefully, with concern for the rights and safety of others.
I am saddened and disturbed that the September 22 protest this week resulted in a violent injury to an individual. I understand that people share deep differences of opinion, but these differences must continue to be expressed peacefully. Violence only undermines the effort to create real, meaningful change and also co-opts the fight for racial justice.
Additionally, acts such as placing a coffin at the door of the Asheville Police Station and placing tombstones in the yards of council members and the city manager are simply unacceptable. No one should participate in threatening behavior that promotes violence against the police and is intended to intimate and terrify individuals. Threatening the police and other individuals only serves to divide us at a time when working together is needed more than ever.
We can affect change in our city and in this country through peaceful acts of protest and productive dialogue. We are not a city of fear and intimidation. We are a city of love and compassion.