Sheriff’s deputy accused in road rage incident

A local woman claims an off-duty Buncombe County sheriff's deputy threatened her during a road-rage incident, sparking an internal-affairs investigation. Clyde resident Julie Brown also sharply criticized the conduct of the Asheville Police Department, which responded to her 911 call.

Brown says she was driving home from work July 9 when a jeep cut her off at the intersection of Patton Avenue and the New Leicester Highway. While stopped at a light, she honked her horn and says the man then got out of his vehicle and came over to hers, striking the car.

"He tried the door handle; he punched on the windows. I couldn't look at it. I was afraid the glass would break."

The man then got back in his vehicle and she continued down the road, calling 911. Brown says the man continued to follow her. Dispatchers told Brown to find a public place, and she turned into a nearby parking lot, where she was met by Asheville police.

Around the same time, an undercover narcotics deputy whose name is being withheld by the Sheriff's Office also called 911, saying: "I've got a vehicle here giving me the road rage, flipping me off. I don't know what in the world's her problem." The man added, "I'm in my personal vehicle. … She wants to act all stupid, so I want to show her how stupid she is when she finds out who I am." The deputy also denies cutting her off, saying he got out of his car just to see what was going on.

After the dispatcher said there weren't any units nearby, the deputy replied: "Well, she's heading towards home. She lives in Clyde. So you can just cancel that. I'll just get her tag number down and pay her a visit."

Sgt. Randy Smart confirmed that his agency's Office of Professional Standards is looking into the case. Asked if the deputy's visiting her house would have constituted professional conduct, Smart replied: "No, it's not. I'm sure he was just rattled and wasn't thinking clearly."

The deputy in question has a distinguished record, said Smart, and "has not had any investigations or complaints before." He added that the deputy has denied touching or striking her vehicle.

Brown denies having made any gestures.

"The first officer on the scene asked if I realized I had just called in on a cop. I thought he was kidding," says Brown. "My next thing was: So what? This person did this — whether he's a carpenter or a cop, it doesn't make much of a difference. But apparently it does, because they did not pull him over … or do anything else."

Brown says she wanted to press charges and asked them to dust her door for fingerprints, but the officers refused. "How is that protecting the public?" she asks. "They did not do their job. It's not my job to build a case against someone who attacked me."

According to APD Chief Bill Hogan, the officers declined to press charges or file an incident report "because they both called on each other, [and] we were not there to witness it. We verified she was safe and advised her to take it up with the deputy's employer."

As for the request to collect evidence from her car, Hogan said that's not normal procedure. "If he touched her car, so what? It doesn't prove anything. Maybe if the glass were broken that would be a different story. I understand the public wants certain things done, but they don't always understand the law."

Brown has been unhappy with the police response, saying that it took her several days just to determine that the matter had been turned over to Lt. Kim Martin at the Sheriff's Office.

"We can't just drop what we're doing; there has to be a reasonable expectation here," said Hogan. Law-enforcement agencies are required to provide recordings of 911 calls within 10 days to any citizen who requests them.

Brown says she's consulted an attorney and also spoken to Lt. Martin, who relayed the deputy's version of events. But after Brown advised Martin to talk to her attorney, Brown says Martin told her that "civic disturbance" charges could be brought against her.

Martin has denied saying this, and Smart said, "I don't see [Brown] facing any charges from this."

"I can tell you this much: I do not trust the police now," says Brown, adding that she's considering a possible lawsuit against the APD for what she sees as dereliction of duty. "This has been overwhelming," she says. "I don't want money. But some seriously bad, wrong things are happening, and no one seems to want to admit it."

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10 thoughts on “Sheriff’s deputy accused in road rage incident

  1. ashevillelokel

    “According to APD Chief Bill Hogan, the officers declined to press charges or file an incident report “because they both called on each other, [and] we were not there to witness it.”

    So if the APD does not “witness” an incident there will be no charges filed?

    They didn’t witness that idiot shoot the guy on the bicycle in Oteen but he was arrested.

    This isn’t so much about what happened initially but more about the FACT that this public servant – a deputy Sheriff, followed Brown for several miles (at close range, according to the 911 tapes), and verbally communicated to another County Employee that he was going to “pay her a visit” in another County after all this happened to show her “how stupid she is”!

    If that is the Deputy Sheriff’s mindset then he does not need to be employed in a job where he carries a gun and has no control over his temper!

  2. AvlResident

    Question for the editors:
    With the sheriff’s deputy’s license number public in the 911 tapes, is there a reason your reporter has not identified him?

  3. Rob Close

    yes, if an officer can’t control his temper, he shouldn’t be in charge of our safety. period.

    but of course hogan will do nothing; his first priority is ensuring his own men feel safe in their jobs, not the public’s safety in their own lives.

    and city council won’t put any pressure on hogan, because frankly, they’re spineless.

  4. AvlResident

    Question for the editors:
    Is there a reason you haven’t answered my previous question? What happened to “• We treat our readers as participants in an ongoing civic dialogue.”

  5. B.E.A.R.

    Watching live press conference on ACT web site regarding this … series of very weak questions posed by reporters … female reporter: “Since there were no witnesses, and no cameras at the intersection, and it’s a ‘he-said, she-said’ situation, how difficult is it to find out what really happened?”

    Chief’s answer: “It’s very difficult.”

    Shock!

  6. Jon Elliston

    AvlResident:

    Thanks for your question about using the license plate number to identify the deputy. Perhaps you can help us out here: If you have a person’s license plate number, how would you use it to find out the driver’s identity? Unless I’m mistaken, DMV won’t give that information to just anyone.

    Thanks again,

    Jon Elliston
    Mountain Xpress

  7. Leigh

    I listened to both 911 calls. Not only was the officer’s behavior suspect based on both calls, I have to say that the male 911 operator’s attention to Brown’s call was pretty lame. A female 911 operator had to step in and clean up his mess.

  8. Kathy

    I’d like to know what citizens in Asheville can do to support Julie Brown. This is disgusting and embarrassing behavior and we need to make sure Ms. Brown is supported in her fight against the Sheriff’s department.

  9. freedomlvr

    SORRY FOR THE “ALL CAPS” RESPONSES BUT IT WAS THE ONLY WAY I COULD DISTINGUISH, WITH CLARITY, MY WORDS FROM THE ARTICLE’S.

    “As for the request to collect evidence from her car, Hogan said that’s not normal procedure.”
    SO HOGAN, WHAT IS “NORMAL” PROCEDURE WHEN A CIVILIAN SAYS SHE WAS ILLEGALLY THEATENED BY AN OFF-DUTY DEPUTY?

    “If he touched her car, so what? It doesn’t prove anything. Maybe if the glass were broken that would be a different story.”
    OBVIOUSLY, IT LENDS VERACITY TO HER STORY THAT THE DEPUTY GOT OUT OF HIS CAR TO PHYSICALLY THREATEN HER. BUT NEITHER POLICE AGENCY HAS ANY INTEREST IN HELPING HER. PLEASE REMEMBER PEOPLE, IF THE ROLES WERE REVERSED, THIS WOULD MEAN “EVERYTHING“.

    “I understand the public wants certain things done, but they don’t always understand the law.””
    AND WHAT LAW WOULD THAT BE? EXPLAIN IT.

    OH, THE UNSPOKEN LAW THAT SAYS COPS DON’T RAT OUT OTHER COPS?

    Asked if the deputy’s visiting her house would have constituted professional conduct, Smart replied: “No, it’s not. I’m sure he was just rattled and wasn’t thinking clearly.
    STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURE: ONE COP COVERING FOR AND DOWNPLAYING ANOTHER’S BEHAVIOR.

    THE 911 RECORDING CLEARLY SPELLS OUT THE OFFICER’S CLEAR THINKING AND THREAT AND HIS “CONTEMPT OF COP” ATTITUDE.

    IS THE PUBLIC REALLY SUPPOSE TO BELIEVE THAT AN UNDERCOVER NARCOTICS DEPUTY “GOT RATTLED” AND LOST HIS ABILITY “TO THINK CLEARLY” OVER A WOMAN ANGRILY HONKING HER HORN ???

    “The deputy in question has a distinguished record, said Smart, and “has not had any investigations or complaints before.””
    THE USUAL FIRST DEFENSE OF LAW ENFORCEMENT: TROTTING OUT THE OL” AWARDS AND SERVICE RECOGNITION OF THE ACCUSED LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER.

    “The deputy also denies cutting her off, saying he got out of his car just to see what was going on.”
    “He added that the deputy has denied touching or striking her vehicle.”
    “….an undercover narcotics deputy whose name is being withheld by the Sheriff’s Office also called 911, saying: “I’ve got a vehicle here giving me the road rage, flipping me off. I don’t know what in the world’s her problem.”
    NOW THIS IS FUNNY, BECAUSE AFTER ADMITTING HE GOT OUT HIS CAR “TO FIND OUT WHAT WAS GOING ON”
    (WHAT DOES HE CLAIM HE SAID TO HER: GEE LADY, WHAT’S GOING ON??? I HIGHLY DOUBT IT.)
    HE THEN GETS BACK IN HIS CAR AND FOLLOWS HER, WHILE CALLING 911 SO THAT HE COULD TELL HIS “VERSION” OF EVENTS.

    SO WHO ACTUALLY WAS THE “TRUE” PERPETRATOR OF ROAD RAGE HERE:
    MS. BROWN FOR HONKING AT HIM AFTER SHE SAYS HE CUT HER OFF OR THE DEPUTY WHO ADMITS TO GETTING OUT HIS CAR TO CONFRONT HER AND THEN FOLLOWING MS. BROWN ?

    I CAN SEE WHY SHE CALLED 911 BECAUSE HE THREATENED HER BUT THE ONLY REASON HE DID WAS TO COVER HIS TRACKS AND MAYBE, HE HOPED TO VIOLATE HER ON SOME OUTSTANDING WARRANTS, ETC. AND/OR DESTROY HER CREDIBILITY SHOULD SHE FILE A COMPLAINT.

    “Brown denies having made any gestures.”
    WOULDN’T MATTER IF SHE DID.
    IT’S CALLED THE FIRST AMENDMENT-PROTECTED SPEECH, PER THE SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES-GET USED TO IT.

    “The first officer on the scene asked if I realized I had just called in on a cop.”
    THE POINT OF THIS? INTIMIDATION. PURE AND SIMPLE. NO OTHER REASON FOR THIS TO HAVE BEEN BROUGHT UP BY THE ASHVILLE POLICE. PERIOD.

    “Smart said, “I don’t see [Brown] facing any charges from this.””
    WELL OF COURSE NOT! WHY AND HOW COULD SHE? AFTER ALL THE ASHVILLE POLICE DIDN’T WITNESS HER VERSION OF EVENTS AND THEY CERTAINLY DIDN’T WITNESS THE DEPUTY’S, SO HOW CAN SHE BE LOGICALLY AND REASONABLY CHARGED WITH ANYTHING? UNFORTUNATELY THE DEPUTY WON’T BE EITHER.

  10. Dan Coates

    The APD says taking fingerprints was not necessary? Well, the Sheriff said if the Deputy had touched her vehicle, that would be a firing offense! So, it was important to know that he touched her vehicle as she said and would have proved her claim. Therefore the APD was negligent in it’s failure to take evidence. Could it be because they took the Deputy’s side against a citizen who was scare by him, assaulted by him?

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