On behalf of City Council, I apologize to Mr. Rush, an African American resident, regarding his treatment by Asheville Police on Aug. 24, 2017.
The City Council first learned, last night, from local media, about a highly disturbing video of an Asheville Police Officer assaulting Mr. Rush over jaywalking on Aug. 24, 2017.
The City Council and I immediately contacted City administration to express our outrage at the treatment of Mr. Rush and our outrage of not being informed about the actions of APD officers.
The Council is calling for a review of the violent acts against a city resident and what swift and immediate action was taken by APD upon review of the video footage. We will have accountability and, above all, transparency.
This incident is a step backward in the Asheville Police Department’s work to modernize police practices. Earlier this week, APD released a report showing a 61% decrease in the department’s overall use of force. The number shows that the revised Use of Force Policy and the training of police officers on de-escalation has helped us make progress; however, until we recognize that one incident is too many, we have not met our goals.
As your Mayor, I want there to be a clear message that there must be an end to police abuse of power. I support APD Chief Hooper in her efforts to emphasize de-escalation. The acts of these officers do not represent the professional and fair treatment a vast majority of our officers show in the course of their duties day in and day out.
We are better than this. We MUST uphold ourselves to the highest standards and practices.