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Racial Justice Coalition plans to file complaint alleging excessive force by APD
Sunday, 19 July 2020 19:20

From Staff Reports

Asheville’s Racial Justice Coalition announced in a July 6 press release that it has gathered excessive force experiences involving the Asheville Police Department  and “plans to seek accountability with formal complaint.”

Specifcally, the release states, “After Asheville Police Chief David Zack told City Council members that no excessive force complaints had been filed against police officers following recent local protests, the Racial Justice Coalition issued a call and process for community members to safely report traumatic incidents, without fear of retribution. 

“During the peaceful protests (March 31-June 3) following the police murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, the Asheville Police Department used rubber bullets, tear gas and other ‘non-lethal methods of force’ on Asheville residents gathered for marches and demonstrations in downtown Asheville. To date, the RJC has heard from over 15 individuals reporting a range of injuries caused by APD’s excessive force and, with legal counsel, plans to submit a formal complaint by the collective.

Later in the release, Rob Thomas of the RJC was quoted as saing, “When we heard Chief Zack say that there had been no complaints about excessive force, that didn’t sound right.

“We had been hearing a number of stories from community members, so we asked people to document their experiences to make sure people are being heard and supported through this process.”

The release added that “community members were able to fill out a form describing their experiences and injuries and could choose to remain anonymous.”

 The release also noted that “a street medic who goes by the name of Robert stated, ‘As a medic, I have seen excessive police-inflicted injuries throughout the protests in Asheville. I have treated numerous chest injuries and head lacerations that were caused by police shooting people with tear gas canisters and rubber bullets at point blank range...I treated around 100 injuries between 5/31 and 6/1, and the vast majority were of this nature. Twelve were severe and required Emergency Services and/or Emergency Care.’”

Nahlah Karimah, another respondent who claimed to have experienced excessive force during two separate gatherings, was quoted as saying in the release, “The actions of the Asheville Police Department are reprehensible and the officers need to be held accountable. Without warning, they attacked children with explosives and chemicals. They inflicted terror and pain upon law-abiding citizens. Their actions offended the spirit of freedom that we hold dear in America and violated the guiding principles espoused by the APD.”

 The RJC noted that it is receiving legal support and that City Attorney Brad Branham has been contacted regarding a process for submitting a formal complaint by the collective. “If you have experienced excessive force, you can fill out the survey at,” the release stated.



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