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Asheville police captain suspended

Photo: WLOS

News 13 has confirmed that Captain Mark Byrd was put on investigative suspension last Wednesday.

Byrd has a history of being critical of APD departmental leaders. In 2014 he filed a grievance complaint, saying he was reassigned after raising concerns about staffing.

In 2013, he also voiced concerns about radar certifications.

Asheville resident Vanessa Bogany spoke with News 13 in March about a meeting she says she had with Byrd, regarding former APD officer Chris Hickman’s “demeanor and foul language” in an incident involving the arrest of her teen grandson. Hickman is the officer now charged with assault in the arrest, beating and tasing of a pedestrian, Johnnie Rush.

She said she filed a complaint at the substation and had a meeting with Capt. Mark Byrd on June 22 of last year. Bogany spoke with News 13 about her run-in with Hickman, accusing him of racism in his behavior toward her 15-year-old grandson in an incident at an Asheville pool during which Hickman arrested the boy.

Byrd is also the officer who said that said, given the circumstances, the Asheville officer who displayed an assault rifle in front of three teenagers was responding appropriately.

Police said a woman called 911 and described three teenagers in detail, saying one of them was "waving a gun" while walking up Courtland Avenue in Montford.

Three officers responded, one of them holding an assault rifle. One officer questioned the teens, while one of the boys recorded the incident, later posting it on Facebook.

As two officers briefly detained the boys, Byrd said a third was able to locate the "gun," which turned out to be a BB gun or air gun. Capt. Byrd said it might have been a BB gun, but it looked real.

Earlier this month, former Asheville police captain Stony Gonce was fired after a third-party investigator found Gonce had intimidated and had hostile behavior toward several members of the Asheville Police Department.

News 13 is working to learn why Byrd was suspended--stay with us for updates.

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