Esther Manheimer, the mayor of Asheville, must immediately rescind the curfew that was announced on June 2. These restrictions, beyond the fact that they are draconian limits on Asheville residents’ First Amendment rights, do the exact opposite of “ensuring the safety of our community.”
Curfews across the country have unleashed a barrage of extreme police violence in the last week. On May 30 in Atlanta, six police officers brutalized two black college students who were in harmless violation of their city’s authoritarian restrictions. All six of these officers have since received criminal charges for use of excessive force.
The disturbing state terror we witnessed in Atlanta is far from an aberration; anyone with access to social media has likely seen horrifying videos of newly emboldened police officers savagely beating and terrorizing people across the United States who are violating their cities’ curfews.
The mayor’s curfew puts Asheville residents, especially our already over-policed black communities, at increased risk of police violence. Mayor Manheimer should consult the precautionary principle and ask herself: “If this curfew, like it has in cities across the U.S., results in more police violence and therefore begets more protest, will it have been worth it”?
— Clay Hurand