I have been very disappointed that, although two issues of the Xpress have been published since Jerry Williams was killed by Asheville Police Department Sgt. [Tyler] Radford on July 2, neither issue has covered the story, or the story of the solidarity/support movement that has sprung up in response to this horrible incident (and in response to a broader national context of ongoing murder of black people by the police).
Although web-based Xpress content has reflected this story, the print version doesn’t even acknowledge that it happened. It’s hard to see this discrepancy as anything other than willful neglect, and this reader would like to see the absence corrected.
As the eyes of the nation are on Baton Rouge and Minnesota, we can’t ignore the fact that fatal use of force against black people also happens in Asheville. It happened here less than two weeks ago. Since then, an unprecedented level of community response and coordination has emerged to support the Williams family and seek accountability for the killing — an effort that bridges racial and class backgrounds, social networks and neighborhoods. These are the facts. You can’t say your paper represents what’s going on in Asheville when the front page features tacos and train hoppers while people are in the street chanting for justice.
This isn’t about taking a stand on who is right and wrong; this is about doing your job as a part of the press. Cover this story, and let people decide for themselves if and how they want to engage with a movement that is already here and isn’t going away.
— Julie Schneyer
Editor’s note: We, too, want to see coverage of this issue in print in Xpress. However, with a fast-paced story like this one, online coverage has thus far offered us (as a weekly publication) the most effective solution, and we have relied on it. We are discussing ways to provide balanced and thoughtful coverage in the coming weeks, both in print and online. Crime is not a primary focus for us, so the resources we will be able to devote to coverage will likely center on how citizens and government interact, rather than straight reportage of events. Thank you for your passionate involvement and for providing your views.