“We’ve taken to the streets to tell you what we need,” said North Asheville resident Katie Hudson. “It smacks of irony and disrespect to come forward with a proposal that you’re going to listen to people when we are actively telling you what we want right now.”
A new statewide face covering mandate will go into effect on Friday, June 26, at 5 p.m., a month after Buncombe County began requiring face coverings in all public indoor facilities. Under the new executive order, people are required to wear a face covering in all indoor or outdoor public spaces when physical distancing is not possible.
Asheville City Council approved interim budget appropriations for July — including over $2.4 million to the Asheville Police Department — as commenters flooded the phone lines at the June 23 virtual meeting to demand that city leadership “defund the police.”
“Let’s keep an open mind and work toward a multilayered solution that benefits all of our communities through meaningful reform and doesn’t pander to the status quo.”
Asheville City Manager Debra Campbell’s proposed timeline for the 2020-21 fiscal year budget is likely to shift yet again. Asheville City Council will consider the adoption of a one-month interim budget on Tuesday, June 23.
“So transfer Asheville Police Department funds to housing!”
“Asheville citizens —protester or not — want, I think, the same things our police officers want: to be free to help those who need our care, to be treated with respect, to not be seen as the enemy.”
“It is disheartening to see the citizens of Asheville and Buncombe County subjected to daily doses of tear gas by the Asheville Police Department under the direction of new Police Chief David Zack.”
“I urge our city and county leadership to reconsider how we want our law enforcement agencies to be perceived in these particularly turbulent times.”
“We need to challenge the systems that disproportionately oppress black and brown bodies.”
Many of the commenters during Asheville City Council’s June 9 meeting called for the resignation of Asheville Police Chief David Zack and Mayor Esther Manheimer. Many more called for the immediate defunding of the APD. The comments came at the end of a five-hour meeting held virtually and fraught with technical difficulties.
Instead of voting on Asheville City Manager Debra Campbell’s proposed budget on Tuesday, June 23, as originally planned, City Council will now consider an interim budget on that date. The move, coming after a wave of public comment to “defund the Asheville Police Department,” is meant to bridge the gap before a new budget can be reworked with additional community engagement.
A portion of City Council’s meeting on Tuesday, June 9 will be dedicated for an update on city policing. According to City Manager Debra Campbell’s proposed budget for the 2020-21 fiscal year, the APD is slated to receive $30,057,325 — an increase of $457,621, or 1.5%, from the department’s current budget.
Police chief describes strike against medic station as preemptive because water bottles have been thrown on previous nights.
Tensions were high as downtown Asheville prepared for another night of anticipated protests, despite a new citywide curfew that will go into effect at 8 p.m.
After a peaceful demonstration of thousands in downtown Asheville turned violent around 10:30 p.m. on Monday evening, some attendees smashed windows and spray-painted graffiti on downtown buildings and the Vance Monument.
Asheville Police used tear gas and rubber bullets as demonstrators protested police brutality and racial injustice the evening of May 31.
Over the past month, local criminal justice officials have collaborated to reduce the number of people held at the Buncombe County Detention Facility by nearly 40%. Those efforts are aimed at helping limit the potential spread of COVID-19 among incarcerated people and community members.
At a March 24 press conference, Fletcher Tove, Buncombe County’s emergency preparedness coordinator, said public health staff were finalizing a new supplemental state of emergency declaration that would mandate a “stay home, stay safe” approach to fighting the spread of the disease.