Ogden: Two officers drive false narrative about chief of police

It saddens my heart to know that William Anderson, the first African-American chief of police of Asheville, is retiring.

How did we get to this point? In my professional opinion, the city leadership has allowed two police officers to continue to drive a false narrative, week after week, through the news media (WLOS-TV and the Citizen-Times newspaper) without  disciplinary action.  Racist practices and racism within the Asheville Police Department have consciously and systematically been allowed. This is now the culture and climate of the department, where officers have refused to be held accountable, change and take direction from a leader of color.

I am very disappointed in city leaders in Asheville who have allowed the rhetoric and behavior of these two disgruntled lieutenants to cause all of this unnecessary drama with the assistance of outside help. These two officers have been allowed to hold the city hostage, like terrorists, as if to dare anyone to take action against them.

Based on the recent video charade on WLOS, Asheville police Lt. Bill Wilke must be fired. He has lost all credibility and cannot be trusted to lead in any capacity within the Police Department.

As a retired senior noncommissioned officer with 21 years of active Army service, I am appalled at his blatant disrespect for the office of chief of police. His true character is  being revealed through the media coverage of his negative attitude toward the chief. Wilke, an Army Reserve lieutenant colonel, has brought discredit upon the Army Reserve officers corps.

Lt. Mark Byrd, as a leader within the department, should have addressed the radar gun issue  once he recognized that there were calibration discrepancies with the guns.  That’s what leaders do: They fix the problems. But he and others made it personal and had an ax to grind with the chief. He actions were unprofessional.

 The city and community also have ignored the following: the Franklin Report (a controversial report on the state of race relations in the Asheville Police Department, submitted in September 2007); the strategic plan recommended by the chief; community policing implemented by the chief; promotional opportunities for all officers implemented by the chief and the chief’s accountability for all officers of the APD.
Finally, as the pastor of Hill Street Baptist Church, I am calling for Lt. Wilke’s and Lt. Byrd’s immediate dismissal from the Asheville Police Department by the city manager’s office. Seemingly, we have gone backward instead of moving forward with racial issues and discrimination.

Dr. Keith  A. Ogden, pastor,

Hill Street Baptist Church


Editor’s note: Ogden also is president of Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance of Asheville & Buncombe County.

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6 thoughts on “Ogden: Two officers drive false narrative about chief of police

  1. Sam

    Lt. Wilke and Lt. Byrd have provided thorough documentation for all of the issues that they raised in the press. Please be aware that each of them attempted to address all of those issues internally, and they were ignored by the Chief and the City. What evidence does Ogden have that APD is “systematically racist”? There is none. Look all you want. It isn’t there. The APD officers are standing in the truth. The only strategy Ogden can use to hurt someone standing in the truth is to make statements about their characeter.

    The Chief lied to the press about his knowledge of the problems. He knew about them. He was there at the meetings when they were discussed. Chief Anderson made a series of incredibly stupid errors during his time with the city, the most glaring of which (in my opinion) was clearing his son of wrong-doing the day after he was involved in a alcohol-related crash, while the investigation was still on-going. Ogden is defending a man who deliberately interfered in an ongoing investigation involving a family member, and then admitted it! The officers at APD do not dislike Anderson because he is black. The officers at APD dislike Anderson because he is a liar and he is incompetent.

  2. Jill

    I find myself more in agreement with Sam than with Pastor Ogden and for similar reasons. Chief Anderson’s race had nothing to do with his faulty judgment concerning his son’s car wreck. I think that had a uniformed policeman taken those actions on behalf of a family member in those circumstances he or she would have been fired immediately – and appropriately so.

  3. Jim

    Problem with this narrative, some hold blacks to no standards of criticism or accountability under the guise of labeling those that do as racist. And like women, when one can not hold people accountable because they are protected by labels, they end up becoming not only failures to themselves but burdens upon everyone else. Either you hold people to the same standards or none at all. Because double standards promoted by the left is really the biggest crime of all.

    • Jill

      For myself, it is not a racial issue nor a left vs right issue. Venal hypocritical white people have no problem applying a double standard and refusing to accept responsibility. I’m just a little worker bee and hold no sway in the world but I would like to see a standard of behavior and competence that doesn’t allow – “but it’s different if I do it” – regardless of race, religion, male or female, etc.

  4. Murphy

    “In my professional opinion…”

    as a “man of god” your “professional” opinion means little with regard to the on going fluster-cluck that is the APD.

  5. Wilke and Byrd had no racist intent in the Anderson debacle. Anderson is an arrogant liar who has finally been caught and is lucky that he’s getting away without being charged. Lying is a morality violation and he could have been fired for that. Policemen are supposed to be held to the highest standards. The police chief, the highest of them all. Let’s not forget Wilke is a Colonel in our nations armed forces. He serves among people of all colors. Are we going to start screaming that Anderson got the job because of his color?

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