Asheville Police Chief Bill Hogan told Xpress that his department was prepared for the worst on Saturday, July 28, due to threats of gang violence during the street festival Bele Chere. He said the APD had received credible tips that a gang fight was slated for the Asheville Civic Center area.
Speaking on Sunday afternoon from the platform of the Segway on which he cruises through festivals and parades, Hogan said, “We expected guns and bullets.” He added that while his officers were prepared to deal with whatever happened, they were greatly relieved that the night and weekend passed without a substantial incident. Overall, he said, the weekend had been a quiet one. Hogan then fielded a question about the location of restrooms and directed a couple to the Coxe Avenue stage before gliding up Battery Park Avenue toward the Grove Arcade.
Today (Monday, July 20), the APD reported 89 arrests over the weekend, of which 11 involved alcohol violations (under-age, DUI, open -ontainer) and 10 more were for “intoxicted and disruptive” behavior. Eight other arrests involved fights or physical assault of one sort or another, and there was one assault with a deadly weapon.
At least two arrests appear to be entirely unrelated to the festival. There was one trout-license violation, presumably at some remove from the funnel cakes, crafters and beer barrels, and a man was charged with second-degree murder in the death of his wife at an apartment complex in Sayles Village, four miles from Bele Chere’s downtown epicenter. Last year there were 55 arrests over the Bele Chere weekend.
— Cecil Bothwell, staff writer