Publishing arrest data has become common in this city; the Asheville Daily Planet has considered it page 2 news since their inception. Now we have the Asheville Housing Authority newsletter and the Asheville Police Department’s Web site going so far as to share pictures of people, whether caught with pot in the projects or arrested [for] supposedly soliciting a prostitute.
What’s important here is the supposedly. We aren’t being shown pictures of recently convicted criminals, but rather those recently arrested—pre-conviction. This is a bastardization of the very basis of the American legal system—innocent until proven guilty—for the cheap-thrill benefit of glorifying our police department. And how much effort do these publicizers put into repairing the damage done to reputations [of the] innocent? None.
If you know someone who has had their arrest data publicized for a crime that they were never convicted of, please share your story with [Citizens Awareness Asheville] so we can document and compile them. You can come join us at St. James Church on Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m., or leave a detailed message at 398-4817.
— Rob Close