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Unrest at APD roils city
Friday, 07 November 2014 22:43

From Staff Reports

Issues involving the Asheville Police Department in general, and its embattled Police Chief William Anderson in particular, continue to rock this city.

A majority of City Council came out in support of the chief in late October, following publication of a petition by 44 active-duty city police officers — about a fourth of the rank-and-file policemen — calling for “a change in administration.” The petition expressed a no-confidence vote in Anderson’s operation of the department — and it called for his removal.

Other grievances cited in the petition included increased   forced overtime, staff shortages and chronic low morale.

The four-page petition was delivered on Oct. 16 to City Manager Gary Jackson, who is Anderson’s direct superior.

Jackson promptly released the following statement:

“We value the views of all of our officers and Asheville citizens. As we move forward with implementing the recently adopted strategic plan for the future of the Asheville Police Department, we intend to monitor closely the progress of the department. We will give the input of the petitioners’ thoughtful consideration within that process. Progress reports will be shared with citizens, police personnel and media as they become available.”

Councilman Cecil Bothwell, who serves on the city’s Public Safety Committee, expressed support for Anderson — and alleged that criticism of the chief was rooted in racism.

Also expressing concern that racism may be fueling the APD rift was the Rev. Keith Ogden, president of the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance of Asheville & Buncombe County. Ogden said he had received a letter from “a group of concerned citizens” about the racism issue.

The racial makeup of the group of officers who signed the petition was not made public, but sources have said that black officers were among the petitioners.

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Gay pride flag display draws flak
Friday, 07 November 2014 22:38

Register of deeds keeps office open late, riling conservatives 


By JOHN NORTH

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Two Asheville-area conservative activists caused a stir Oct. 10 when they took issue with a decision by City Council to allow the draping of a rainbow flag, symbolizing gay pride, over City Hall — and compared it to Nazi tactics.

On a related matter, Buncombe County Register of the Deeds Drew Reisinger once again became embroiled in a controversy with conservatives over his office hours — this time, it came after he kept his office open late Oct. 10 to issue the first-ever marriage licenses to gay couples.

An enthusiastic throng had gathered outside Reisinger’s office, hoping to tie the legal knot after a ruling issued shortly after 5 p.m., declaring the ban approved by state voters in 2012 unconstitutional. The ruling was issued by U.S. District Court Judge Max O. Cogburn, Jr. in Asheville.

In response to the gay flag display, conservatives Chad Nesbitt and Dr. Carl Mumpower emailed the Daily Planet and others a picture of City Hall with the rainbow banner, side-by-side with a a Photoshopped picture of City Hall as it would appear with a Nazi swastika draped over it. 

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