Bier Garden manager, employee arrested after fight with ALE agent

A manager and employee at the Bier Garden, a bar and restaurant in downtown Asheville, were arrested on assault charges after fighting with an Alcohol Law Enforcement agent early last Saturday morning. ALE alleges that the agent, David Miller, was attacked while trying to write tickets to employees and their friends, who were drinking after hours.

Malcolm Knighten, a manager, was charged with assault with a deadly weapon after allegedly striking Miller twice with a bar stool and Michael Plemmons, a bouncer, was charged with assault inflicting serious injury after he purportedly struck Miller and bit one of his fingers. Both were arrested, and later had additional charges tacked on of resisting arrest and interfering with an Alcohol Beverage Control inspection.

“Miller looked through the window and saw people drinking after hours [around 3 a.m.],” local ALE supervisor Alan Page told Xpress. “That is a violation of North Carolina law [which prohibits drinking in a bar after 2:30 a.m.]. He walked in, told them who he was and started to write a ticket.”

Page said that those Miller was about to ticket — two unidentified employees and one patron — were cooperative. “There were no problems, they knew what they were doing was illegal. They were pouring out their drinks and he [Miller] was getting ready to write a ticket and let them go.”

Then, Page said, Plemmons approached Miller “and started cursing at him,” then struck Miller with his fist and began grappling with him. Page also asserted that Plemmons bit Miller’s index finger.

“Then Knighten struck Dave with a bar stool — holding it above his head, he struck him twice,” Page said. “The patron [that Miller was about to ticket earlier] stepped in and took the stool away from him.”

After the altercation, the Asheville Police Department arrived on the scene and arrested Knighten and Plemmons. Plemmons’ bond was set at $6,000 and Knighten’s at $5,500.

Miller, Page said, experienced back pain as a result of the fight, along with lacerations on his index finger and above his left eye.

“I’m concerned that the people there were just sitting around while this was going on. You’d think people would have a civil obligation to help someone in need,” Page said. “Though that one guy [who took the bar stool from Knighten] did help, and we appreciate that.”

He added that the Bier Garden “could face administrative penalties” for the incident, along with the charges against the employees.

Xpress was unable to reach Bier Garden employees for comment.

— David Forbes, staff writer




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107 thoughts on “Bier Garden manager, employee arrested after fight with ALE agent

  1. Peter Lorenz

    Does this story sound realistic? An officer walks by a bar around 3am after closing time, walks through an unlocked door. Then issues tickets to people at the bar who don’t seem to mind. Then out of nowhere, he is randomly attacked by two employees. One a manager, who likely has taken classes on safe service and responsible management as most other bar managers in the Asheville area have.
    Who called the police? Not the ALE officer. It was the bar. The bar staff was supposedly to busy ambushing then kicking a down ALE officer to do such a thing. Yet the record does show it was the manager who called.
    In what world is this likely? Why would two individuals go so berserk? Why is this story so easily consumed? To me this story is full of holes. I wish the MountainX would have called me.

  2. Down with ABC

    The fact that the state even enforces these archaic laws is a travesty. ALE is the morality police, and I feel no sympathy for the pathetic tool that got his tootsy handed to him. Now, let’s get into the 20th century and shut down ABC and ALE now.

  3. jahshwa

    Nobody really thinks about whether this stuff is true or not. Nobody seems to wonder why we can’t drink when we want to, either. Do we really need “fun police” to make sure people aren’t having too much of a good time?

    Drinking just makes people tend to act naturally, like kicking the crap out of the hall monitor. Not too surprising or upsetting, really. I bet he’s regretting it now!

  4. William P Miller

    The law is the law. Period. Attacking a law enforcement officer is a serious offense. Period. End of story.

  5. i don’t know, but when i was at the beir garden durning march madness i saw two managers/employees from the beir garden swinging stools and dropkicks at some hecklers in the bar. it was probably warrented at the time, but it did seem a bit violent for 4:30 in the afternoon.

  6. ncain

    I think the bottom line here is don’t drink after hours in a bar that has a huge window on the street level. Bar and restaurant employees will drink (among other things) after hours. This is a given, and no one cares, but breaking the law where anyone who walks past can see you is just dumb.

  7. Johnny Lemuria

    “The law is the law. Period. Attacking a law enforcement officer is a serious offense. Period. End of story.”

    Laws change. Bullies can easily find themselves without back-up.

  8. The government has no business dictating the terms of operation of a private business conducting peaceable, voluntary exchange between free adults in a free market that does not violate another’s individual rights.

    Ah, but there’s the rub: there were no free adults or free markets involved in this incident. The government considers all individuals subjects of the state and the proper objects of control and tyranny.

  9. jahshwa

    What’s interesting are the array of responses to the situation. They remind me of being a little boy in elementary school.

    1. These rules are stupid.

    2. It’s stupid to break these rules when the hall monitor is looking.

    3. I’m not thinking anymore. Period. End of Story.

    What other responses are there, when you are under someone else’s control? Reaction, submission, and denial. Which is yours? I think I do all three.

  10. It definitely seems like there is a piece of the story missing, and that would be the Bier Garten’s employee side. The article even says that the Xpress was unable to reach Bier Garden employees for comment. Something must have been said or done to provoke a manager who obviously must know the implications of attacking an ALE officer. The Bouncer was probably just a tag-a-long in the offense.

    Nevertheless, there have been other circumstances in which patrons have labeled the Bier Garten as one of the bar’s you don’t mess with. They defend the their business against a variety of people, and this includes them occasionally displaying their ability to get physical.

    We all know the rules are bent after closing hours at bars – employees having a drink at the end of the night is understood. The want to calm their nerves down after a long shift is justified. However, state law is state law and there is nothing we can do on a municipality level. Remember folks, despite Asheville’s aura the rest of NC is still a bible-belt red state.

    David Miller was being effective at his job. He did not deserve to be beaten. Period.
    It was not as if he was going in and out of bars looking for someone to bust. The Bier Garten has a massive window, and if employees are drinking in front of it after hours they must understand they are advertising the fact they are breaking the law, and thus should not be surprised when consequence comes knocking at the door.

  11. LOKEL

    My question is: Why did they let the guy inside in the first place?

    What would have happened if they simply ignored him … would he have busted in the door, called for back-up and then entered forcibly …

  12. jahshwa

    “What would have happened if they simply ignored him …”

    Interesting question. Go chat with local bartenders, and I think you will find that the A.L.E. is a mafia that decides who gets to be a bar and who doesn’t. It is easy for them to shut anyone down, and historically they’ve been known to do this for many reasons — cultural, personal, racial — you name it. We’re talking about human beings with power, here. Don’t be naive.

    Bars know that they have to appease these guys in order to exist. I’m sure some of them are nice, misguided people doing their job. But seriously ask yourself…. what kind of person voluntarily takes on the job of policing people’s good time? Meter cops are far more heroic, because they actually serve a purpose.

    Vice cops simply enforce someone’s idea of what you should or shouldn’t do. (You shouldn’t drink too late. You shouldn’t be drunk at a bar. etc…) They use this as an excuse to control entire sectors of the local economy, and as such they have been able to act very much like organized criminals. (Medford, anyone?)

    Do they deserve to be beaten? That’s another discussion entirely. I’m arguing that they don’t deserve to exist.

  13. Ghost

    While I’m not saying that ALE and the ABC board don’t have their problems (although I think a lot of people in NC would be shocked at how liberal our alcohol laws are compared to other states, even ones out of the Bible Belt), I subscribe to the thought that if you’re in the business of providing customers with substances that alter the way they think and act there needs to be someone making sure you’re acting responsibly. I think the rule in question is dumb, but obeying the laws governing alcohol is the cost of owning/operating a bar.

    (And if Lokel is serious with his/her question, not letting the ALE agent in would have been almost as dumb or maybe even dumber than beating the guy up since they’d probably have their license revoked)

  14. Dionysis

    “The law is the law. Period. Attacking a law enforcement officer is a serious offense. Period. End of story.”

    And when law enforcement personnel shoot an unarmed person, say at his wedding, or when they “mistake” a wallet for a gun and empty 50 rounds into the person, or when they’re videotaped kicking and beating someone, etc., it’s always justified, and virtually always leads to exoneration.
    Law enforcement personnel are no better or worse than anyone else in any occupation. Some are true professionals with pride, many are mediocre people muddling through life and some are bottom-dwellers. It’s as simple as that.

  15. bigmomma

    I think that alot of people need to realize that without people like A.L.E alot of people would be out driving while they are drunk. If one of the stupid people commenting on how there shouldn’t be A.L.E. was killed by a drunk driver your family would say why wasn’t A.L.E. doing there job. The Bar is suppose to be closed at 2 am why do you think there is a last call Duh you freaking morons!!! You can’t by beer after 2 am anywhere so what makes it ok for a bar to keep serving after that. The bar broke the LAW!!!!!! I hope that they are closed and the the owner and worker gets punished to the full extent of the Law. Maybe them doing some jail time for a long time may make them think about what they have done!!!!! Everyone bitching about law enforcement, who is the first person you call for help!!!! A officer!

  16. Doug

    I dont know if the ALE agent deserved to be beaten with a bar stool but I can certainly understand the frustration. Who really cares if some staff and people they know are having a beer or 5 after hours. Does that really keep anyone up at night with worry?

    I am from WNC but have been living in Europe for the last 8 years where of course the idea of carding someone for a beer is beyond absurd and would never happen. No one comes around to check if the bars are following the rules because where I live there basically arent any. And despite this breathtaking lack of control there are never any problems! No fights to speak of and not really that many teenagers even bother to come in. Not there thing. Although no one bats and eye when they do.

    The last two holiday season myself and my Australian girlfriend have been in the USA for a couple of months and generally spend a good bit of time in Asheville. I couldnt believe that on two seperate occasions this past winter we were not allowed into bars because my 33 year girlfriend (im 37) only had her Australian drivers license on her and not her passport as well. i have never been so embarrased in my life! The first time a girl who couldnt have been more than 21 or so refused to serve us as we were going into a movie at Asheville Pizza & Brewing Co. of all places! Didnt want to risk her job she said. If people are losing their jobs for serving glasses of beer to 33 and 37 year old people than something is seriously wrong!

    That being said however, I dont think it has much to do with being in the so-called bible belt. I find it a bit stricter in Asheville than in other places probably because of the high numbers of young people. Try buying a beer in a gas station or grocery store in Pennslyvania! And despite Bostons reputation as a big drinking town they are also pretty hard-core with IDs and closing time laws and closing time is like 1:00am or something.

  17. pulp

    The truth is the ALE officer was not there because he walked by and saw them drinking. He was tipped off by someone from the inside.

    Sorry JBo, but this guy was going into a bar looking for someone to bust. You are correct in that something was said to provoke a manager to react in this way.

    The “bouncer” reacted in the wrong way. The “manager”, although in the wrong, was defending the “bouncer” because of reports of the officer’s condition at the time. I guess we will see. Keep in mind, just because this person is an officer of the law does not mean they do not break the law themselves.

  18. Point of Order Doug:

    I did loose my job, my house, and part of my reputation when I was working for the AmeriCorps in Pennsylvania because I was caught having a beer with a 20 year old.

    You can’t not buy beer in a gas station there, only in six-packs from bars or in bulk from beer stores. I had purchased a bulk pack of 24 beers from a beer store and had a 20 year old friend with me. An undercover officer busted us a when we got back to our apartment with the beer and I was then prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

    It was an absurd situation that forced me to reside technically homeless for 6 months in perhaps the most ghetto city of America. Mind you, that time period taught me a helluva lot about dividing forces in America, streets smarts, and the convoluted court systems in America. Using a public defender was one of the top 10 worst experiences of my life, but being a volunteer with Americorps with a $300 monthly stipend didn’t allow me much in the way of lawyer advice. When I was FINALLY convicted 9 months after my offense I was more than ready to leave Pennsylvania and it’s backward ways behind me. My punishment was a massive fine, court fees, and one years probation at my parent’s permanent address. Thus I came back to Asheville, where I found our city to make a lot more sense. However this city is slightly out of touch with the certain aspects, such as crime, poverty, and drugs – which I got a crash course in during my period of being technically homeless. Mind you I didn’t break any more laws, but I befriended that aspect of society in order to survive in a city where drive-by shooting were a weekly occurrence.

    Why did the law come down so hard on me?
    Because Pennsylvania is home to the Yuengling brewery (America’s Oldest) and thus that county has the highest percentage of alcoholics per capita. It was an election year and they had just passed strong consequences for any alcohol related crimes.

    So Asheville isn’t out of touch on it’s alcohol laws, because most if not all of them are state or federally mandated. The only thing that is particularly different about our laws in NC is the bible-belt no drinking on Sunday morning law. No get fershnickered on the holy wine allowed.

  19. Pulp –
    if someone from the public walked by that huge window and saw them drinking, and they reported it to the ALE or the APD – again – Miller was only doing his job.

    Without being there and seeing what words and actions were shared, or having equal press coverage from both parties, I can’t make an assessment as to who initiated the unfortunate transactions that took place thereafter.

  20. Just some dude!

    Well to put it straight. The bouncer hadn’t worked there in 2 months! Why a manager would say he was I don’t know! The agent went in when someone let the before mentioned x-bouncer in the door. So to say the manager was protecting his employee is wrong! Also the agent was walking to his car when he saw the patrons drinking. That came from the popo so take that as you will but the bouncer was NOT an employee there and hadn’t been for a while! Did the agent deserve it.. well maybe but not from a place that has their lively hood held in the hands of those they are beating. Im surprised the place is still open. I would of figured they be closed down by now. I guess they will surprise them right before Bele Cher! That would suck for me.. I love drinking there but never after 2:30… I go home for that..

  21. travelah

    JBo, excellent points. The ALE officers do make the rounds after the 2:30 cut-off on drinking in a public establishment. They do not need to be tipped off and you are right, he was doing his job and the establishment was certainly in the wrong. Assaulting the officer was sheer stupidity on the part of the manager and employee. …

  22. Ghost

    Doug, while I think most people would be happy if America’s attitude towards alcohol was similar to the general views in Europe, it’s not so much that America is backward as much as it’s just cultural differences – the big one being that a lot of Americans have to drive to their local bar. European countries also generally have stricter rules regarding alcohol-related offenses, if I’m not mistaken.

  23. bobaloo

    when law enforcement personnel shoot an unarmed person, say at his wedding, or when they “mistake” a wallet for a gun and empty 50 rounds into the person, or when they’re videotaped kicking and beating someone, etc., it’s always justified, and virtually always leads to exoneration.
    This is comparable is what way? Your analogy is completely ridiculous.

    Some are true professionals with pride, many are mediocre people muddling through life and some are bottom-dwellers.
    No, you’ve got that backwards, most are professionals and a few are bottom dwellers.
    I think you’re just feeling put down by the man.

    But I do agree that they (police) are human like the rest of us, but humans regularly put their lives on the line to protect others.

    I can’t speak for ALE agents, though.

    In any case, I’m curious what the other side of the story is.

  24. bobaloo

    If Miller doesn’t like getting the snot kicked out of him by free adults then he should return to his knitting.

    If free adults don’t want to go to jail then they shouldn’t beat the snot out of enforcement agents.

    Are you so jaded by your anti-government stance that you can’t see the ethical fallacy you’re making?
    Just because you disagree with this mundane law it’s not cool to beat the crap out of people.

    if someone from the public walked by that huge window and saw them drinking, and they reported it to the ALE or the APD – again – Miller was only doing his job.
    Without being there and seeing what words and actions were shared, or having equal press coverage from both parties, I can’t make an assessment as to who initiated the unfortunate transactions that took place thereafter.

    Absolutely correct.

  25. Doug

    Why is drinking such a big deal in the the “land of the free” I wonder? Almost anywhere else in the world nobody could care less but in the states its always “Well if something bad happened then you would all blame somebody!”. I wouldnt blame anybody but the dumbass who caused the problem!

    Oh, are we allowed to say “ass” on here? God forbid some child might see the word “ass” and be scarred for life!

    I just got back this moment from the bar in my town in Europe and not only are they still open at 2:30am ( and will be for hours to come) but there are people there smoking marijuana! Oh my god! Someone call the cops quick before something bad happens! Im so afraid! Hoe do we survive here with out the benevolent ALE!!!!!

    JBO thats horrible! How ridiculous that even happened to you! The fact that this discussion is even taking place over the fact that some people were sitting in a bar and drinking after hours is exactly why I no longer live in the USA. Its funny that Asheville (though when I was a kid it was just another mountain town) is supposed to be this free, progressive kinda place. I guess we have a different definition of “freedom” in the land of the free….

  26. The Rocket Club

    First thing, the term used in this state for a liquor license is “Privilege License.”

    To have the privilege to sell alcohol, we have to follow many rules. The liquor law book is about 2 inches thick. I have not read the whole book, but I have used it as an insomnia cure. That said, there are a few things that everyone knows who has a bar.

    1. No drinks served after 2 am and all drinks finished and glasses off of tables and bars before 2:30.
    2. No person on duty can drink while on the clock, or even in uniform if off the clock.
    3. The only forms of ID acceptable in this state are: a. NC state drivers license or ID card, b, a drivers license from another state (not ID card), c, a passport, or d, a military ID.
    3 The A.L.E. has the right to enter your bar whenever they feel like, and look where ever they want.

    I know most of the A.L.E. officers in this part of the state. I even LIKE the ones that I know. They have always treated me fairly, and honestly.

    That said, they are state police officers. They are paid to uphold the law as it is written, no matter how silly they think it is. They do their job to the best of their abilities, and it isn’t an easy one.

    I know there are bars where the employees drink after hours, and they are not the smart ones. Sure when I lived in a state where I was allowed to drink while I work, or after hours, I did have that after work beer. Now I have that beer on my porch hanging out with my dogs. It tastes better knowing that my A.L.E. Agent will not be banging on my door ready to give me a fine.

    I’m nervous about the backlash that may happen from this incident. The Bier Garden is most likely going to have a difficult time ahead of them, and that may spread to the other bars in town.

  27. William P Miller

    To the newbies here, it wasn’t long ago that you could not buy a mixed drink in Asheville. Now the place flows with booze. The locals here want some moderation. Cutting off swilling at 2:00 am is not an unreasonable request. If y’all want all night carousing, move back to Philly or Chicago. ABC and ALE agents are sworn officers of the law. Assaulting them is a serious offense. The perps will do jail time. Let’s all be more respectful of each other, and the law.

  28. LOKEL


    with regard to the night in question. The ALE Officer was going to give those folks who were drinking a citation, a misdemeanor, and that would have been it.

    Those folks would, by my guess, have then gotten in their cars and driven home.

    So your post stating that the ALE keeps folks from drunk driving is a bit off.

    The ALE is involved with traffic stops, only when they are organized, such as booze it and loose it.

    The rest of the time they are conducting “sting” operations, and hold seminars to “train” those who serve alcohol to the public.

  29. Dionysis

    “Your analogy is completely ridiculous.”

    You’re entitled to think what you want. We’ve all seen repeated examples (on the national level) of some bad law enforcement personnel engaging in brutish behavior, which rarely results in any sanctions or accountability. If you can’t find examples (or don’t wish to look), I can provide some.
    This does not mean that such behavior is the norm, but it does mean that that people with a badge are just as capable of abhorrent behavior as anyone, but that there is a knee-jerk aversion to holding them accountable. And while many of them do genuinely risk their lives, they don’t do so any more than others, such as fire fighters.

    “No, you’ve got that backwards, most are professionals and a few are bottom dwellers.”

    That’s one view. I’ve known many law enforcement folks over the years, from small-town sheriffs to large city cops on the beat. Many of them I’ve spoken with stated the reason they got into it was because it was “easier” to get a job with law enforcement than with other employers, particularly among those with more limited education. A few genuinely were motivated by a ‘calling’ to police work, but they were the exceptions (again, in my experience).
    I recall working with someone a few years ago whose husband was a detective with the city where I lived. She said to me once (surprisingly, I thought) that many police did it for the reason stated above (it was an easily obtainable job), some went into it due to long-held desires to work in law enforcement, but that some were drawn to it because they enjoyed the power trip a badge provides. I’ll accept an insider’s assessment over anyone else’s, thank you.

  30. Larry Mille

    I have read most of the blog about this incident. I find it hard to believe that there are people out there that think it is ok for two people to jump a LEO. It does not matter if he got a tip about people drinking or if he just happen to walk up to the place and find them drinking. His job is to enforce the laws regarding alcohol sells and consumpution.

    As for timpeck, I wonder how well you would be able to defend yourself if two people jumped you using barstools (or whatever for a weapon). I bet you would not fare as well as my brother did.

  31. Bar Owner

    The law is the law. Whether you like the laws or not it is not up to the individual to intrepid them to what fits for them. They are written down to avoid misinterpitation of the law. If bar owners don’t like them then it is up to them to lobby for change. Until they are changed they must be followed. In Las Vegas you can drink 24 hours a day, In Louisiana it is ok to drink if you are under 21 if you are with your spouse that is over 21 and in Texas you can write on a piece of paper that you are over 21 and a bouncer can accept it (although it falls on the bounce to prove it if the police come in to verify).We have our laws and they have there’s. I know Officer Miller and I know he can be strict about the laws, but he is just doing the job that he is paid to do. There is no reason for anyone to think it is there duty or right to beat up an officer while in the act of doing his job. I think the other comments posted here from the peanut gallery that doesn’t know what they are talking about is funny and laughable. Having said that, I do hope the Bier Garden loses there license and that there hopes of opening another spot across from Magnolias is held up.

  32. “I’m nervous about the backlash that may happen from this incident. The Bier Garden is most likely going to have a difficult time ahead of them, and that may spread to the other bars in town.”

    I was going to mention this, but you beat me to it. The Bier Garden could have endangered every bar in town.

    This came up in discussion last night (at a bar). Could the ALE agent sue the Bier Garden?

  33. How would this endanger every bar in town?
    That doesn’t seem very fair…
    I could understand Bier Garten suffering heavily, but all other alcohol establishments?

  34. “How would this endanger every bar in town?”

    Maybe endanger is too dire a word, but the ALE could make things much worse for other establishments.

  35. The Rocket Club

    “How would this endanger every bar in town?”

    This one is up to the ALE how they are going to handle it.

    What actually happened that night may be arguable (boy oh boy are the rumors flying), but the fact is that an ALE agent was hit with a bar stool and bit. If the ALE deem that they have been too lax on us all, then there will be more stings, and inspections. Like I posted earlier, the law book that we have to follow is huge and none of us know it all. We get hit with infractions that we don’t know about, despite how hard we try to be legal, and WE DO TRY! A few $1000 fines and many of us will be out of business.

    So everyone reading this Please bring your IDs with you. Your membership cards too. Yes, we may know who you are, and we love you, but help the bars in town stay open and fun.

    Also a number of the Alcohol laws are up in front of the state house this summer, so call the people who can vote for these things, and make it easier to have a reasonable responsible bar.

  36. As an aside, I hope the Bier Garden stays open. They are one of the few places I can get decent eats late at night. They have also eaten so many laundry quarters with the best air hockey table in town.

  37. LOKEL

    Just as Sheriff Medford was “supposed to uphold the law”, the ALE agents are sworn to uphold the alcohol laws of North Carolina.

    So, if the agents “make it difficult”, in other words HARASS other watering holes, they could be removed from their positions, much like a speeding deputy who kills someone is often removed from his position.

    So it behooves the agents to perform their duties in a manner respectful of the laws of the State and Country.

    Now if you were referring to the Asheville Police doing such a thing, or the Sheriff’s dept. I may believe that it is possible.

  38. perspective

    There must be WAY more to this story. The Bier Garden knows the rules. This particular ALE agent is known to harass bars, trump up accusations, and throw his weight around. He’s made inflammatory comments about lesbians and “hippies.” I watched a trial a few years ago in which local officers claimed to have been attacked by a puny drunk man. It turns out, they had beaten HIM up and then created the attack scenario to explain his bruises. He WAS convicted of a drinking offense, but let off of the attack charge. I’m just sayin…

  39. “The law is the law. Whether you like the laws or not it is not up to the individual to intrepid them to what fits for them…If bar owners don’t like them then it is up to them to lobby for change. Until they are changed they must be followed.”

    This would be news indeed to Harriet Tubman, Thoreau, Gandhi, MLK,Jr., and H.L. Mencken. Not to mention the throngs of unknown individuals who form the ‘black markets.’

    Those who preach absolute fealty to the government and declare them to be your master in every matter, then you are truly choosing slavery.

  40. travelah

    timpeck, your fallacy is duly noted. None of the people you mentioned whacked policemen doing their lawful duty with barstools in the dead of the night.

  41. travelah

    Perspective, you are making slanderous charges against a man without presenting any evidence. What particular instances can you present that support your serious charges?

  42. jahshwa

    “policemen doing their lawful duty”…

    It’s interesting how people want to believe something to be true. You want your cops to be gallant. You want your good guys to be good and your bad guys to be stupid. Good luck with that.

    None of this has anything to do with reality.

    You don’t know that this A.L.E. agent was doing his lawful duty. Where are you getting your information? Sure, there was an infraction of “the law”. But do you have any idea how it was handled? It’s clear that you don’t.

    Nobody in this case wass being so stupid as to knowingly attack an officer. Get real, people. This guy came in undercover, running his mouth to bouncers whose job it is to keep troublemakers out. They obviously didn’t know he was a cop. Now they have to face legal charges for doing their job as bouncers.

    I know several bouncers who have dealt with A.L.E. agents being reckless and stupid, and by the time they have them pinned to the floor, out comes the badge.

    I don’t see any reason to favor a cop or a bouncer. They are both doing their job. However, the bouncers don’t get to do their jobs unsupervised and with impunity. And A.L.E. agents are cops. You don’t call them. They don’t help you. No heroism implied.

  43. “your fallacy is duly noted. None of the people you mentioned whacked policemen doing their lawful duty with barstools in the dead of the night.”

    Your capacity to find fallacy where there is none is duly noted. (And then create your own on top of that.)

    What “the people I mentioned” have in common is the vigorous defense of individual rights. In the case of private property rights, the government is not a co-owner of an individual’s property, business or labor.

  44. Jason Ross Martin

    Regardless of what happened that night, I would hate to see the Bier Garden close due to this event.

    No one is beyond reproach, ever. Law enforcement, bar ownership, bouncers, employees of a bar–all are equally human and therefore constantly on the cusp of making another mistake.

    I hope that in the end, the appropriate fines are levied, the appropriate penalties will be enforced based on what happened, and then things will move on.

    I do not think that engaging in name calling, seeking to blame one party or the other, or launching political rants as a result of circumstances like these is productive. Reading these posts troubles me–to see how quickly even a discussion of an isolated event in a bar leads to such heated remarks.

    I believe our culture is on a dangerous knife’s edge… and this deep-rooted mistrust in public officials is symptomatic of a dangerous malignancy that the rest of the world senses when they view America as a whole.

  45. Bar Owner

    You obviously are not in the Asheville bar business or if you are you haven’t been for very long. I find it hard to believe any bouncer or manager at The Bier Garden would not be able to recognize Officer Miller. The times when I have had him in my bar he has always said hello and gone about doing whatever little inspection he needed to do. I one time he actually gave me a fine he was not unpleasant or overly harrasive about it in the slightest. Officer Miller definitely reminds me of Sgt. Joe Friday from Dragnet and I am sure there is more to this story, but I wouldn’t paint with such a broad brush when you say “Nobody in this case was being so stupid as to knowingly attack an officer”. Given the reputations of some of the bars around town including The Bier Garden, I would not be surprised to find out that alcohol was not the only thing that was being ingested, which might explain a heighten sense of paranoia on the part of the staff at The Bier Garden.

  46. travelah

    timpeck, there was no vigorous defense of individual rights. No bar manager or employee has the right to crack a bar stool over a man’s head when the man is enforcing what most citizens consider a “reasonable” law. If you don’t like the law, seek to change it.

  47. Bar Owner:

    That is definitely jumping to conclusions – this is how awful rumors get started. Next thing you know by this evening I’ll have 10 people telling me the Bier Garten employees were stark raving mad on crack-cocaine and crystal methamphetamine. The rumor mill on this story is already pretty spun.

    None of us will know the full story is until the Bier Garten employees & witnesses decide to vocalize their side of the story.

  48. perspective

    travel, sorry i don’t have cell phone video or police corroboration for my claims. as a former and long term bar worker, i witnessed an unnamed ALE agent’s zealous attempt to find fault in an extremely carefully run establishment over and over again. He was slow to identify himself as an officer and complained several times about how we were endangering him by asking him to publicly identify himself to patrons who he was “questioning”. Bar owner sounds like a ringer, not someone in the business. Probably saw Reefer Madness one too many times.

  49. “there was no vigorous defense of individual rights. No bar manager or employee has the right to crack a bar stool over a man’s head when the man is enforcing what most citizens consider a “reasonable” law.”

    Key phrase: “when…”

    It matter not how many errors are introduced into the equation. “Most citizens” can consider slavery to be a reasonable law. Indeed, most do.

  50. travelah

    timpeck, it is not at all true that most citizens consider slavery to be reasonable. The key phrase was “there was no vigorous defense of individual rights”. Could it be said that you favor assault on general principle when society opposes your particular lusts?

  51. travelah

    perspective, your witnessing one incident does make a pattern nor does it offer an excuse for what happened. Perhaps the court proceeding will shed a much better light on this matter.

  52. Peter Lorenz

    As far as hearing the “Bar-side” of the story: I have been asked not to discuss the event with the media. Similarly, the bar staff, involved or not, has been asked to remain quiet.
    It seems like this is a huge black eye for both the ALE and the Service industry of Asheville. Now that the video of the incident has been reviewed it seems like more cooperation is taking place.
    This is clearly a huge misunderstanding. One that is hurting everyone involved.

    Bar Owner: Where do you get off accusing the involved persons of going into a drug-induced blood-rage? That is absolute foolishness. Shame on you.

  53. innocent until proven guilty

    do you know how frustrating it is to hear so many people specualte on events about which they know nothing? in court, much will be illuminated. pieces of evidence include security videos showing the entire incident from the time miller entered the biergarden to the moment at which the police arrived, as well as a recorded 911 call made by malcolm knighten, the manager, while the fight was taking place. this hopefully will put to rest all rumors and hypotheses surrounding this incident, an incident on which employees and witnesses have been instructed by the ALE not to comment. knowing what happened, having been there, it’s hard to listen to a reporter for news 13 telling you what’s going to be put on the 5 oclock news if you don’t tell her anything to refute it. it’s also hard to know that the reason you’re not allowed to comment on the event is bacause the ALE can and will shut down the bar by which you probably aren’t even employed anymore. and by the way, the two biergarden employees who were arrested for this incident weren’t even the ones who were drinking after hours. and they certainly weren’t doing any drugs.







  55. Ashley

    It seems that the only folks talking here are the ALE. I haven’t heard or read anything from the alleged “attackers” or the APD. This whole thing smells fishy and i can’t wait to find out what REALLY was going on(…as if we ever real.)

    I can only imagine the efforts the ALE is going through to try to close down a legitimate business while perhaps they should be finding out if they have a cowboy on thier hands. Irresponsible and arrogant behavior from a state or federal officer? – how shocking would that be – NOT.

  56. Will Shooter

    The ALE has a long standing reputation as a rogue agency of the State of North Carolina. Their function during the days of moonshining has now slipped to busting up legal drinking establishments and hassling college kids who choose to drink at an age younger than 21. This is a byproduct of a corrupt, one party government in this state, and the time of the ALE has passed.

    When I ran for House Seat #56 in 2002, the abolishment of the ALE was my number one priority, and I still work hard to log the harrassment and antics of this disfunctional agency. I’d like to see a follow up story on recent ALE activity, and the record of Agent Miller involving similar incidents.

    There are many holes in the ALE version of this story, and if the Mountain Xpress has any true agenda of investigative reporting, I’d like to see what the power of the press can do to help bring more light on this subject.

  57. Peter Lorenz

    The Mountain Xpress has likely tried to continue investigating the incident. I’m sure other reports have as well. However, involved persons have been asked not to discuss the disturbance. Sadly it seems the only information the press has been able to acquire is from the police report. Which is why the story is off balanced in the favor of law enforcement.

    Also, JLAVERD is absolutely correct about Mr. Knighten’s personality. He is truly one of the most level-headed indiviuals I’ve ever known. This whole event is more than surprising, its surreal.

  58. jen

    sounds like the employees were not in the right…what is the big hoopla all about? they broke the law and probably did get out of hand.

  59. September Girl

    I have encountered the ALE officer named here many times and was never pleased with his manners or his approach to doing his job. He IS bad about identifying himself clearly as an ALE agent. I had to ask him several times for some identification at one “meeting” and was shown a paper business card, not a badge. I feel very sorry for the Bier Garden employees. It is not easy defending yourself in court against the accusations of police officers. FYI, I am told by other bar owners that Charlotte bars are NEVER visited by this agency.

  60. Another Bar Owner

    I in no way find it right to beat or severly hurt anyone in any manner. I too being a former bar owner I have dealt with Mr. David Miller on numberous occasions. He is a very unpleasant man who likes to throw his weight around. The first time I met him he was drunk when he walked into our establishment, while i worked the door he did not even identify himself and he was getting loud about how he did not want a bar/nightclub at our location and how he will do anything he can to shut us down. Those where his exact words. And just ask any of the 14 bouncers we had on duty about closing time at our place with Mr. Miller in charge. Now the facts are not all out there and they won’t be for some time. Granted the law is the law and we should abide by it and do what needs to be done.

  61. travelah

    Another Bar Owner, if Mr. Miller was drunk on duty entering your establishment, you should have called the Asheville Police to deal with an unruly intruder.

  62. jahshwa

    “…if Mr. Miller was drunk on duty entering your establishment, you should have called the Asheville Police to deal with an unruly intruder.”

    bu… uh… BAhA! HA HA HA HA HA!~

    Wow. All of life’s complexities have been solved. What’s the number for the APD, again? Why haven’t I ever thought of that?

    Travelah, you must be constantly in a state of bliss.

  63. Another Bar Owner

    Calling the cops is like pissing in the wind with ALE. His job is to not stand out when in a bar atmosphere, because he is there to try and see what is going on in an establishment so there are always ways around him getting into trouble.

  64. Will Shooter

    “Sounds like” and “probably” are not terms that hold merit in court, Jen.


    Im reposting a statement by Tim Peck about the Bier Garden fight. No truer more accurate statment has evr been made on this site
    If people think they are free in the land of the fee and the home of the slave, then they also believe that the ttoth fairy will leave them money under their pillow,Read M.r Peck’s statement slowly.I dare anyone to refute him.

    The government has no business dictating the terms of operation of a private business conducting peaceable, voluntary exchange between free adults in a free market that does not violate another’s individual rights.

    Ah, but there’s the rub: there were no free adults or free markets involved in this incident. The government considers all individuals subjects of the state and the proper objects of control and tyranny

  66. William P Miller

    The APD report id the gold standard. Until evidence surfaces in court, it is the officIal record. The manager and bouncer of the Garden were arrested. They most likely will do prison time. Nuf said. You gen-xer’s need to get used to the fact that y’all have to answer to the same law as everyone else. Period.

  67. jahshwa

    There it is again, the telltale “period.” at the end of the sentence… like a cork to keep more thoughts from coming in. The laws aren’t there as an authority to keep us moral. They have existed originally to serve us as a society, and it is our duty as Americans to be vigilant and guard against authoritarianism in its many forms. Our great American tradition arises from revolt against laws which became tyrannical. Some of you have forgotten that our forefathers built this country by taking their freedom directly from people in uniform who simply went too far.

    I have great respect for police officers. Vice cops and ALE agents don’t fight crime, and in Asheville they’ve been known to organize crime in their favor. I believe in following the law, but don’t be naive… Justice is kept by the people — not our servants in uniform.

  68. Stephen Lorenz

    William P. Miller said “You gen-xer’s need to get used to the fact that y’all have to answer to the same law as everyone else. Period.”

    The same laws that law enforcement has to abide by. For example, attacking citizens without reason is strictly forbidden. I guess “officer” Miller forgot about that one.

  69. William P Miller

    Steve, your opinion is just that. Not supported by fact. As a supposed “native” of Asheville, you should know that the local custom does not support late night bar flyism. That is a yankee thing. We work down here, and at 2:30am are in bed resting up for the work day. Perhaps you’d be happier back up in Joisey? Listening to “The Boss”? -:)

  70. miller miller miller

    If all the natives work and are in bed at 2:30, then who’s in the bars? Are you saying that this is a town full of bars run by ‘transplants’ serving other ‘transplants?’ Are none of the people in bars from here? Please, enlighten us.
    And since you worked foir the sherriff’s department maybe you can tell us why david miller got fired as a K-9 deputy.

  71. david

    how does the moderator justify this kind of post?

    “As a supposed “native” of Asheville, you should know that the local custom does not support late night bar flyism. That is a yankee thing. We work down here, and at 2:30am are in bed resting up for the work day. Perhaps you’d be happier back up in Joisey?”

    Oh, right, because it encourages traffic to the site.


    1.Miller admits he was drinking

    2, I think A.L,E, code forbids an agent from acting in a Law enforcement capacity, while said agent is under the influence.

    3.Channel 13 recently uncovered, malfeasance in Miller’s past , appears, Miller has a protracted history and attitude, of being a confrontational, belligerent, Beanie Weenie, with the moron public; and incidentally also with his fellow crooks, I mean public officials.

    4. Bier Garden has very dark, competent, council and enough evidence for punitive, compensatory counterclaims against the agent, in his private capacity and the evil Federal STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA , which is a mere corporation.

    Opposing sides will submit best case scenario, with charges and counter charges, a Mexican standoff will be declared, in the pissing match, the whole thing will be swept under the radar screen, and the moron general public will be the dumber for it.

    Miller will keep his STATE Gravy Train, extortionist job and pension, possibly after being sanctioned in an interdepartmental administrative procedure. Lawyer’s greedy outstretched palms, will be greased. THE STATE will create bonds around the case, using social security numbers of the actors involved, then convert them into U.C.C. and C.A.F.R.A. securities, sell them off 11 times, under the Federal Reserve fractional banking system, improve their credit rating with Dun and Bradstreet and the miscarriage and the product of miscarriage, the JUST US system, or what passes for American juries prudence, will perpetuate and survive yet another day, to contaminate all, here in…… BABYLON

  73. As a supposed “native” of Asheville, you should know that the local custom does not support late night bar flyism. That is a yankee thing. We work down here, and at 2:30am are in bed resting up for the work day. Perhaps you’d be happier back up in Joisey? Listening to “The Boss”? -:)
    – William P Miller

    Please note this post was at 3:07 AM, hope you got enough rest to live up to your southern ideals. ;)

  74. William P Miller

    JMAC, I was sober at 3:00am. I write late at night. I only need about 5 hours a day of sleep. I occasionally drink a beer, but infrequently and in moderation. Sorry to burst your bubble. Officer Miller did not “admit” he was drinking. If you think he was, give the source. The APD report and subsequent arrest of the bar manager and bouncer says a LOT. Y’all are just trying to justify the unjustifiable.

  75. Peter Lorenz

    No one was arrested for drinking. The arrests are a result of the fight. Miller’s level of intoxication will undoubtedly come up in the case. His blood work will prove or disprove. The police refused to Breathalyze all at the scene.

  76. William P Miller

    If the APOD did not breathalize, it means they did not agree that Miller was drinking. So your point is mute.

  77. you mean moot.

    Which it isn’t. Because the police report is not the final ruling in this case. You wish it was. But it isn’t. The court will decide. Honestly, the bogus police report is the only piece of evidence that works in Miller’s favor. And the only reason it does is because it is bogus.

  78. Stephen Lorenz

    They took blood samples which will show alcohol content. That is his point.

    And since Miller agreed he had a “few sips” then he certainly was drinking, regardless of what the APOD thought.

  79. William P Miller

    Officer Miller “admitted” to drinking? Show the evidence please. I do not recall reading that in the report.


    Miller, you, like most U.S. citizens, are a legal idiot.
    Police reports in and of themselves, are not evidence, unless they are sworn to, with an oath appearing in the Jurat.

    Citations are not evidence, as the agent /officer, is never listed as the complainant, nor does said official, sign under penalties of perjury, nor are citations admissible under the standard rules of evidence, they are not a summons, they literally are offers to contract within 72 hours. Officers cant SUMMONS ANYONE TO COURT. Only Judicial officials have the power of summons. The evil administrative powers, and their evil, Bar card attorneys, who have circumvented the constitution, don’t want sheep people, like yourself, to know this fact, as it will kill a fallacy and a control grid illusion, as well as destroying business

    You like most U.S. sheep people would do well to read a Blacks Law dictionary.
    The Bier Garden employees should have invoked the fifth article of the constitution and the sixth article; this would have stopped the moron administrative revenue thug A.LE. Agent in his tracks.

    Incidentally, those who know constitutional law like me, refer to the Bill of Rights, as articles, which they originally were called, under the organic constitution.

    You do not have constitutional rights. The constitution is a contract with public officials, limiting their exercise of power and authority; of course, these concepts are way over the head of the average U.S. sheep person.

  81. stephen lorenz

    Miller, its not in the report because the report is wrong. Thats what you fail to realize or you do realize it and just fail to admit it.
    He verbally admitted to drinking and the witnesses will testify to that.

  82. david

    willy p said-“We work down here, and at 2:30am are in bed resting up for the work day.” at 3am.

    So, I guess what you say is not based in fact, then, since your are obviously not in bed at 3am, and do not have a job. Any other Southern Values you would like to educate us on?


    Will Shooter gets it!!
    Ill make this simple for the stupid mind numbed U.S. citizens on this site.
    1. Agencies are not government.
    2. Agencies have no constitutional power.
    3. Agencies are manned by corporate employee’s not public officials.
    4. Agents are not bonded in an official public capacity, they may have however private bonds in place; you do not know where they are.
    5. You can’t fire and agent
    6. Agents have no civil commissions nor oaths of office, as they hold no offices created by THE STATE legislature.
    7. The real rule of law being used in all courts is the administrative procedures act, it is the law of policies, and most moron public officials think administrative law actually trumps statutory law, when in fact administrative law cannot be imported in a judicial setting

  84. jahshwa

    Ha ha… in the meantime, ALL CHARGES WERE DROPPED… Ya know why? The agent was intoxicated. He was bar-hopping.

    Put that in your pipe and smoke it. Sorry that your hero fantasies didn’t work out.

    Power to the people, ya’ll.

  85. Jim Shura

    Dr. Anti,

    Any idea when I will have the priveledge of voting for Jesus?

    Jah-source please? Link? What did you see?

  86. jahshwa

    Sorry… I don’t have proof. I spoke to friends of the accused. I’m sure its coming.

  87. The one

    I think some of you should listen to yourselves. The law is the law. Take speeding for example, you could say,”Well if I get hurt, its my own fault.” Yeah but what if you hurt someone else while doing it. Remember this, A.L.E Agents move in groups of 2-4. They’re dressed just like you and me. You never know when they are around. You might not see them, but they see you. Most of them will not hesitate handle business. Lastly, if you stumble into one of their situations (and your not cooperative) your probably gonna leave with your ass kicked. These guys don’t play and they got the power to show it…………..

  88. Pepto

    “A.L.E Agents move in groups of 2-4”

    yes they do, all cops -real or wannabe’s- have to move in groups of 2-4. Miller didn’t. He was by himself, sketchy fact number one. And he was by himself until the real police kicked in, which means his actions were those of a rogue vigilante, not an officer of the law.

  89. Peter Lorenz

    True, he was by himself. He also lacked his ticket book and radio.

    In unrelated news, I hear the ALE will be issuing tickets upwards of $100 to bar staff for the use of profanity during Bele Chere. Don’t believe it? Ask bar staff.

  90. stephen lorenz

    not only was Miller by himself but he did not call for back-up. Theres something fishy going on there wouldn’t you agree?

  91. jahshwa

    That’s why nobody should go to Bele Chere. (and why it is obvious this state is a backwards theocracy akin to the Middle Ages)…

    Go see the Seduction Sideshow instead at Hookah Joes! Curse all you want! F**K Bele Chere! Support local talent!


  92. lawstudent

    Dr. Anti has apparently read Black’s Law Dictionary and not much else. His comments make about as much legal sense as a crossword puzzle linking a bunch of misinterpreted definitions. However since he has no faith in the ‘moronic public’ he doesn’t think anyone will know better. A lot of the other posters, most of whom probably do not “know” constitutional law like Anti, have made a lot stronger analytical arguments than that guy. Get a life.

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