Letter writer: Where is Justice4Jerry coverage?

Graphic by Lori Deaton

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.


Thanks for reading through to the end…

We share your inclination to get the whole story. For the past 25 years, Xpress has been committed to in-depth, balanced reporting about the greater Asheville area. We want everyone to have access to our stories. That’s a big part of why we've never charged for the paper or put up a paywall.

We’re pretty sure that you know journalism faces big challenges these days. Advertising no longer pays the whole cost. Media outlets around the country are asking their readers to chip in. Xpress needs help, too. We hope you’ll consider signing up to be a member of Xpress. For as little as $5 a month — the cost of a craft beer or kombucha — you can help keep local journalism strong. It only takes a moment.

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11 thoughts on “Letter writer: Where is Justice4Jerry coverage?

  1. boatrocker

    Re: Editor’s note: “Crime is not a primary focus for us”- we the readers understand.
    Kow towing to the tourism industry apparently takes up much more time and journalistic resources. Thanks for showing the true colors.

    • Able Allen

      Our true colors are these: We are a locally focused, big idea motivated magazine. We are covering the community response to this story which regardless of outcome and whether we ever know what really happened on July 2 centers around crime. The social aspect and the community response are currently the bigger part of the story. A big corporate daily or a tv station is always going to be faster and have more resources for covering breaking news, crime and incidentals. We cover crime as it relates to a larger community story. There is currently not a lot in the way of new facts that are coming out that we have any chance of getting first. It takes time to tell the deeper community story.
      I want to be absolutely clear, while as a responsible news outlet we are not taking a side (other than our whole community’s) in this story with more unknown facts than concrete ones and we aren’t going to waste our time telling the same story over and over; we are covering this in a way that fits our mission. One of our own reporters was just arrested with these protesters. Please think before you engage in vitriolic behavior. While information travels quickly- everyone can afford to take a deep breath before they jump to conclusions.

    • Fin

      Read the blade so you can feel reassured of your liberal beliefs. That can be your safe space.

  2. smackdabinthemiddle

    Why is this person whining to MountainX? This is publication on things to do in Asheville. If you want to complain about crime coverage, ask the Citizen Times.

    • boatrocker

      Because I expect better and the X has slipped in the past few years, ye of Rose Colored Glasses.

      • boatrocker

        If by vitriolic you mean scathing, by the way, then allow me to take a bow.

    • NFB

      There was a time when MountainX was a publication about more than just things to do in Asheville. It had investigative reporting, in depth news coverage on local matters, etc. I guess this letter writer didn’t pick up on that it is now just a paper with 4,000 food articles on it every week with some news about breweries and the latest hipster band in town.

      • Lulz

        Xpress is free and relies on ad dollars to survive. Therefore they have to literally cover up and whitewash the real Asheville. They could start with why are residents being tasked with paying for the rich tourist industry here and finish with the cronyism and lies in government. But only if they were like real journalist that weren’t biased to the industry that feeds them.

  3. Fin

    Once a second rate always a second rate. It’s more of a coupon print now. Oh and the justice for Jerry is not news. No matter which way you try and shove in down.

  4. Paul

    Where is the justice for the police officers who were confronted by an armed person who led them on a high speed chase after fleeing a crime scene?

  5. MMH

    read ‘The War on Cops’ by Heather McDonald and read all about who the real criminals are day to day in Amerikkka

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