Letter: Profile doesn’t tell story of parks ban

Graphic by Lori Deaton

Asheville’s parks are indeed part of the joy of living here. We believe what makes them magical is that they are public space — parks are for everyone!

D. Tyrell McGirt, profiled for his efforts as director of Parks & Recreation [“Active in the Community: D. Tyrell McGirt Discusses Programs, Opportunities at Asheville Parks & Recreation,” Feb. 7, Xpress], is also currently one of several defendants in a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina that alleges unconstitutional restriction of access to parks.

As we state in our lawsuit, he banned 16 community members from all city Parks and Recreation facilities for three years upon the request of the Asheville Police Department, which had charged us with “felony littering” after an art-based protest against the brutal series of homeless camp evictions in late 2021.

Though we have now been dealing with these charges for two years, we have not been tried in court or convicted. We remain legally banned from parks with no possibility of appeal.

It is this lack of due process and the retaliatory nature of the bans so clearly imposed as punishment for political speech that prompted the ACLU to bring this lawsuit. The complaint can be read here [avl.mx/xmasjbq] and is a remarkable look inside the misuse of resources and abuses of power that characterize this case.

We love parks, we miss parks, and we’re so eager to return.

— Sarah Boddy Norris


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7 thoughts on “Letter: Profile doesn’t tell story of parks ban

  1. Peirce

    Life has consequences, maybe think about that before you dump a bunch of junk in our parks. Entitled idiots rein supreme in this town.

  2. Nostupid people

    Maybe the degenerates haven’t received the memo yet, you’re not wanted nor needed, in Asheville ! You have been a part of corrupting Asheville for years. Parks are not for exploitation of ignorance! Get psychiatric help and get a life and move on.

  3. gapple

    Now you know how Jan 6 Protesters who were arrested, not charged, and currently still held behind bars at Ft Pelousy’s capitol prison feel.

  4. Zodwa

    As a community we are all so happy that COA is finally enforcing something for the good of all people. Not having you and your pals in the park is a blessing for all. No more political protests and pretend art displays of toilets, tires and pallets. No more wasting APD time with your nothing protests. So happy the city has kept this up, and you will get over it. Only one year to go, maybe you will have grown up by then and you can enjoy the Parks along with the rest of us, that just like to enjoy their quiet tranquility and beauty.

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