Police report a “betrayal of trust,” says Asheville city manager

An outside consultant’s report on race relations within the Asheville Police Department is being called “amateurish” by a City Council member and a “betrayal of trust” by City Manager Gary Jackson. And a Virginia-based consulting firm is separating itself from the report as well.

Jackson announced over the weekend that he wants a further investigation into the APD, but denied that the request was triggered by allegations in the report, which was released on Saturday to the Asheville Citizen-Times.

(Click here to download a PDF file of the report.)

“Our decision to do an investigation was based on a desire to do a professional, balanced and factual assessment of the situation,” Jackson says. “The way this report plays into that is that it is a betrayal of trust by a trainer we had invited here to do that kind of assessment.”

Lt. Anthony Franklin of the Richmond, Va., police department came to Asheville May 22 as a representative of the Virginia Center for Policing Innovation to conduct diversity training at the APD. According to Jackson, Franklin was asked to write up his findings regarding racial issues within the force, which he said he would do at an an extra cost of $2,700. That money, Jackson said, came out of APD funds.

The report criticizes the department for passing over African-American officers for promotion and having a poor relationship with the African-American community at large. Rife with spelling and and grammar errors, the report also appears to lack quality research and insight, said Jackson. And its scope and methodology disappointed Jackson and at least one City Council member.

“It was very biased and very slanted in my opinion,” said Jan Davis, who also characterized the report as “amateurish.”

“But that’s not to say we don’t have a problem,” he added.

Jackson would not comment as to whether the city would take action to recoup the money spent on the report.

Lynda O’Connell, executive director for the VCPI, acknowledges that Franklin was contracted to perform the May training session, but said the report was done independent of the organization.

“I had no idea until this morning that he was working on such a project,” she said. “He did that completely independent of VCPI.”

O’Connell said she had read the report, but would not give her reaction except to say, “we didn’t know about it, we don’t endorse it, we don’t even recognize it.”

— Brian Postelle, staff writer

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9 thoughts on “Police report a “betrayal of trust,” says Asheville city manager

  1. Nam Vet

    After returning home from a hiatus in California, I can assure you that Asheville is VERY much a race friendly city. I was so pleased to find that everyone here says hello…especially black and white people. I have met so many black folks who are without the race-victimhood I found so prevalent in California. Martin Luther King would be proud of the way Asheville is. God bless the all encompassing friendliness of the Southern culture.

  2. dankster

    Of course they the (Cops) are a bunch of arrogant corrupt crooks. They the (Cops) think they are above the Law, and have forgotten that they the(Cops) are nothing but civil servants working for us the people !. every Cop thrive on Adrenaline like it’s a drug and that is not good.

  3. Dionysis

    I can’t agree that all cops are “a bunch of arrogant corrupt crooks” as dankster claims, but certainly there are lots of cops that fit that description. That is really not the issue here. The issue is whether or not the report is accurate. As a former long-term resident of Virginia, who is very familiar with the ‘culture’ of Richmond (including their municipal services), it is highly likely that (1) the ‘report’ reflected a particular view of race relations, which embodies the notion that ‘diversity’ is another word for African-American quotas in employment, not the broader definition generally accepted, and (2) the ‘author’ of the poorly-written and sloppy ‘report’ simply created a document that tries to advance his own notion of ‘diversity’ while lining his pockets.
    There may very well be some legitimacy to some of the criticisms, but it would be foolish to accept the conclusion of the self-promoting and apparently incompetent ‘Lt. Anthony Franklin’.

  4. Dionysis

    What does not seem to be contained in this piece is just who it was that contracted with Franklin on behalf of the city. Certainly someone was authorized to ink this deal, using taxpayer funds. Who was it? Was was the criteria employed? Will the person who is responsible for this ‘report’ be held accountable? If so, how?

  5. DonM

    Dionysis,
    Those are the questions on many people’s minds. It has been the topic of MUCH posting over at the other local paper’s TOPIX forum over the past several days.

  6. Dionysis

    Interesting, DonM. One could reasonably conclude that someone has something to hide. So much for transparency in government.

  7. Brian Postelle

    Dionysis and DonM:

    There sure are some questions left to be answered. Xpress is still investigating this story, though we posted this quick note online. Look for the followup in next week’s Xpress.
    -Brian

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