In a 12-page set of guidelines obtained by Xpress, the Asheville Police Department spells out its rules for using force, including oversight, criteria for reasonable versus excessive force as well as what qualifies as deadly and non-deadly weapons.
“It is the intent of the Asheville Police Department that all members recognize the importance of human life, respect for basic human rights and have an intolerant attitude towards the abusive treatment of all persons,” the policy, adopted in 1993 and revised in 2007, reads. “Officers may only use the force necessary to carry out a legal purpose.”
The policy also has a list of “non-deadly weapons” including tasers, expandable batons pepper spry and impact projectiles such as “bean bags” and “pepper balls.” The guidelines also spell out criteriea for using those weapons. It also bans a number of practices, including firing warning shots and hitting a person above the head and shoulders with anything other than hands or fists “unless the use of deadly force is justified.”
Officers have to file a report when they use any amount of force past “hard empty hand control.” A review board consisting of police commanders as well as selected officers and the APD’s legal advisor meets quarterly “to review all use of force issues and pursuits by Asheville Police Department officers.”
According to the guidelines, any use of lethal force is investigated, and the officer responsible placed on administrative leave until the investigation is completed.
— David Forbes, senior news reporter