APD chief says Gonce interfered in Hickman investigation

Image courtesy of the city of Asheville

Another city of Asheville employee has lost his job following a police beating scandal.

Asheville Police Capt. Stony Gonce received a letter dated May 1 from Chief Tammy Hooper terminating his employment. In the letter, Hooper says that the city hired an independent third-party investigator in December to look into complaints about Gonce’s workplace conduct. According to Hooper, the investigator found “clear evidence” of violations of the city’s workplace harassment policy.

The letter details other violations of city policy, including a pattern of intimidating conduct and untruthful statements.

Hooper goes on to assert that Gonce interfered in a criminal investigation of former APD officer Chris Hickman in the beating of Asheville resident Johnnie Rush. The lieutenant assigned to the investigation, Hooper writes, reported that Gonce pressured the officer to write a memo containing statements the officer felt were untrue. Gonce also told the lieutenant he was commanding him to write the memo under “direct order as his captain.”

Hooper notes that Gonce previously was disciplined for insubordination and improper conduct toward supervisors and subordinates for actions on Nov. 1. The Asheville Citizen Times reported that Gonce was placed on administrative suspension on March 2.

Former city manager Gary Jackson and Hickman also lost their jobs after leaked video of the beating touched off public outcry about police conduct in the incident and the city’s response to it.

Editor’s note: The document below was obtained via the Sunshine Request website.


S.-Gonce-5-1-18 by David Floyd on Scribd


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About Virginia Daffron
Managing editor, lover of mountains, native of WNC. Follow me @virginiadaffron

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7 thoughts on “APD chief says Gonce interfered in Hickman investigation

  1. Cecil Bothwell

    The deeper story unwinds.
    There is a lot going on inside the APD which average citizens don’t fully understand. I sure as hell hope Hooper wins.

    • BMacAVL

      So he will face criminal &/or civil charges for interfering with an ongoing police investigation, right? If it was just one of us lowly tax payers, we would be hiring lawyers.

      He was most likely one of the many taking items from the evidence room…did the auditors run a DNA test the ham sandwich found in place of case evidence during the investigation in 2017?

      This rings “scapegoat” for a department that desperately needs someone to take the blame in the eyes of the media and citizens. With so many complaints filed during the audit doesn’t that prove the “City of Asheville and APD: Conduct – Professionalism” policy is not being taken seriously by APD & City of Asheville Government as a whole? Asking for a friend…

    • Robin Canuck

      “Sure as hell hope Hooper wins” what? I’d rather see an honest investigation and the truth come out. It shouldn’t be about Hooper winning or not. If she’s culpable and knew about the beating, and knew about the cover up and botched investigation; then she needs to follow Jackson and Gonce out the door, period. The fact that Cecil would include a statement like that shows that there’s still an element among City officials (or former City officials) that some individuals are above the law; namely a new police Chief that Cecil helped hire.

      • boatrocker

        Correction- Police have been above the law since 2002’s Patriot Act.
        Transparency good, body cams with audio on all the time good, police unions bad.

    • indie499

      Maybe if you had done your job and not tolerated a buffoon like Gary Jackson, whose strategy was to maintain employment, we wouldn’t be in this situation. You neglected oversight for years of a guy with his head down trying not to get fired.

      No one likes Monday morning quarterbacking. We especially don’t like yours because you were on the field.

  2. Jason

    Gonce will sue the city for slander; the city (at the tax payers expense) with defend an expensive lawsuit; Gonce will win a huge sum of money; due to it being nearly impossible to fire a government employee; and he and his attorney will live happily ever after…. AGAIN AT THE TAX PAYERS EXPENSE

  3. HA

    This smells like a scapegoat fire. He won’t need another job after he settles with the city for libel and slander. Is Asheville dismissing the right people in this saga?

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