A message from Buncombe County Sheriff Van Duncan:
I read this statement this morning and was completely disheartened. Three of my Buncombe County Commissioners, Al Whitesides, Jasmine Beach-Ferrara and Ellen Frost basically told their Sheriff and their Sheriff’s Office that the hard work we have done over the past twelve years has counted for nothing. The three of them feel that they should have oversight through County government into all use of force complaints and use of force policies that involve any law enforcement agencies in Buncombe County to include their Sheriff’s Office. This Sheriff’s Office, by and large, enjoys the support of the community that it serves, has been an agency of best practices and been recognized nationally for its efforts in community policing practices, and this comes as a slap in the face.
I, as well as the community, was taken aback at the incident that occurred with the Asheville Police Department and Mr. Johnny Rush. Because of that, some in elected office are taking advantage of this situation to drive a very anti-law enforcement agenda that I can promise you will impact your public safety and the safety of those that serve. Instead of addressing the very serious issue and making sure justice is served, they are applying what they see as the solution to agencies and officers who had absolutely nothing to do with the Johnny Rush incident. They are also proposing actions that they do not statutorily have the ability to enforce. What I think shows the intent of these commissioners the most is they did not communicate with anyone at the Sheriff’s Office or to my knowledge any other municipality or their law enforcement agencies before releasing this statement.
The Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office will continue to provide the best service possible to the people of Buncombe County and will not own any of this statement that gives the impression that we do the contrary.
Click here to read the joint statement by commissioners Al Whitesides, Ellen Frost and Jasmine Beach-Ferrara.