I'm writing in response to Chris Burgher’s recent letter to the editor [“The Police Are Here to Help,” March 25 Xpress]. I will certainly give credit and gratitude to whomever it is due. I have had positive encounters with the police and thanked them for their sincere effort to help — but neither my positive experiences nor yours should cover up the numerous cases of neglect and abuse that plenty of Asheville's poorest and most desperate people have suffered at the hands of the police.
Face it, your letter basically tells people to put up and shut up at the same time. When people don’t receive proper attention by the police, they feel like they no longer have a voice, which is exactly why I’m writing this letter myself.
On another note, you also make mention of the “May Day anarchists” without explaining how they tie in with your defense of the police. If you happen to be talking about the “Asheville 11,” then you are most certainly engaging in a highly unjust practice known as guilt by association. Days after that May 1 incident, simply because I was wearing black at the time, I too was stopped by the police and subjected to a barrage of personal questions with no proper explanation why. I had been out of town on May 1 and had heard nothing about the incident when the police approached me. The least I deserved was a proper explanation, but none was given. It would not surprise me if others have possibly been profiled or falsely accused by the APD.
I agree with you that “a little kindness, respect and appreciation go a long way,” but why not start by showing such sentiments to people who are among the poorest and most desperate in this town?
If the good cops in town are truly proud of their jobs, they need to take a much stronger, more public and transparent stand against the colleagues who are still giving their jobs a bad name.
— Chris Harmon