Group to push for citizen’s police review board

A diverse group of citizens, concerned about several recent incidents involving law enforcement and activists, has decided to push for a citizen’s review board on the Asheville Police Department, as well as increased pressure on city, county and state officials and more of a citizen presence at demonstrations throughout the city.

The group of about 70 people that came together last night at the West Asheville Public Library included members of the Veterans for Peace and Women in Black (organizations that hold weekly vigils and protests), as well as local business owners, members of the Libertarian and Green parties, radio personality Virato (who had organized the meeting), Indie newspaper publisher Pasckie Pascua and a number of other individuals. City Council candidates Lindsey Simerly and William Meredith also attended.

The common concern for the group was recent actions by law enforcement that activists perceive as threatening the rights to free speech and protest, including the flag-desecration arrests of Deborah and Mark Kuhn, the arrest of activist Jonas Phillips, who was holding an “Impeach Bush/Cheney” sign above the Haywood Road overpass, and police reaction to a protest in at the Bank of America.

There was common agreement that the group should press for a citizen’s review board for the Asheville Police Department, something Simerly, Meredith and Rosebud Video owner Leslie Armstrong agreed to take the lead in organizing. The group also agreed that everyone attending would send at least one e-mail to a city, county or state official voicing their concerns, and that they would all work to increase attendance at regular demonstrations already occuring in the city.

The group has agreed to meet again next Wednesday, Aug. 29, at Eaties’ Cereal Bar (48 Commerce St. in downtown Asheville) at 6 p.m. to further plan their course of action.

— David Forbes, staff writer


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10 thoughts on “Group to push for citizen’s police review board

  1. Rob

    Maybe because that committee meets only FOUR times a YEAR, and nobody has heard any results back from them yet?

  2. Lindsey Simerly

    An advisory board and a review board are two very different things… I think the advisory board is great, especially with their representation, but a review board looks into specific police actions and can meet when specific issues arise. I like the idea of working with the advisory board (or possibly just expanding it to include a review board) but the act of reviewing actions is necessary, even without the recent incidents (Kuhn’s, BOA protest, and Interstate Blogging).
    For frequently asked questions about citizen review boards, visit

  3. tralalogic

    I believe that we have been in a constitutional crisis since the Supreme Court declared itself king-maker. Whether we submit to a dictator will depend on where the loyalties of the local police and National Gaurd lie. I think we should just ask them, ‘do they serve the community or the unitary executive?’ It is counter intuitive to believe that the neocons will give up their unchallenged and unlimited executive powers without violence against American citizens. How much carnage ensues depends on the willingness of fellow citizens to enforce the mandates of the executive.

  4. Pasckie Pascua

    For the print version of Asheville indymedia’s online news/info about the citizens group meeting in West Asheville, please check out the Sept 1-15 issue of The Indie. However, because of printing schedule with our printer, we come out only on a Wednesday, hence Sept 5. Thanks.

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