UPDATE: Seven protesters were arrested after they refused to move from the lobby of the Asheville Police Department. They were charged with disorderly conduct.
UPDATE July 22: The sit-in continued overnight Thursday into Friday morning, David Forbes of The Asheville Blade reported via his Twitter account. Protesters talked to a local representative of the Fraternal Order of Police Thursday afternoon, but continue to demand to speak to Police Chief Tammy Hooper. Friday morning, Asheville City Councilman Cecil Bothwell visited the sit-in and told them some members of City Council support them, Forbes reported.
Original post July 21: A group of about 50 protesters marched from Asheville’s Montford neighborhood to the lobby of the Asheville Police Department downtown and staged a sit-in protest to call attention to a July 2 shooting in which an APD officer shot a man after a car chase and brief confrontation.
Reporter David Forbes of The Asheville Blade covered the sit-in this morning via his personal Twitter account. There’s a sampling of his tweets below.
Forbes reported that the protesters demanded that the police officer involved in the shooting be fired from his job and arrested for the shooting. The also demanded an apology, and demanded that police take steps to end similar violence. They promised to continue their protest until their demands were met or they were arrested and jailed.
Jai “Jerry” Williams, 35, was shot and killed near the Deaverview public housing complex after police responded to reports of gunshots at another public housing complex, Pisgah View. A car chase ensued, and ended when Williams exited his vehicle and “displayed” a weapon, according to police.
Williams’ family has demanded more information about the incident and questioned the extent of force used in the case.
The protest comes amid a series incidents around the U.S. this summer in which police have shot and killed black men following confrontations. Those incidents have triggered retaliation, where black men have targeted, shot and killed police officers in Dallas and Baton Rogue.
Here’s more from Forbes’ Twitter account of this morning’s protest:.
SURJ ally group, activists sit-in at APD lobby, calling attn to Asheville segregation July 2 police killing of Jerry Williams
Demands from protesters… 1) End to violence against poc, esp from police 2) “clear, concrete” steps from gov
Demands continued… 3) full acknowledgement of State of Black Avl report by #avlgov 4) public process on inst racism
5) no APD $ increase until “measurable” improvements in racial equity 6) #avlgov against state law keeping body cam video secret
7) full transparency, accountability from #avlgov in investigating Williams’ death 8) racial equity training for all armed officers
About 40-50 marchers made way from Montford, calling for end to “empty tourism,” Asheville “built on injustice”
Protesters want Sgt. Tyler Radford (who shot and killed Williams) indicted, fired, public apology from APD
Seated protesters saying won’t leave until demands met or sent to jail.
DeLores Venable, one of the local BLM organizers, thanking demonstrators: first major local civil rights movement in 60 years.
Venable: shows that Asheville not as segregated on ground as people think, white ppl realizing that black avl lives tied w theirs
Venable: this is “black-led movement w white support.” Mostly white ppl here today because black ppl treated diff at APD.
And what do they accomplish? Make people aware? We are aware. The shooting was in the news. Do THEY even know the full story? Most of these immature, liberal educated malcontents usually don’t now all the facts before they jump and scream. What “progress” they’ve made since the 60’s! This is backwards. What has the police done about this? Just let them, so they don’t get bad press? EVICT THEM!