APD report disputes racial profiling accusations

The Asheville Police Department on Tuesday night presented a report of its own to Asheville City Council, challenging accusations from a state civil rights group that the police department isn’t submitting enough traffic stop reports to the SBI to be in compliance with state requirements. (Photo credit: WLOS staff)

The Asheville Police Department on Tuesday night presented a report of its own to Asheville City Council, challenging accusations from a state civil rights group that the police department isn’t submitting enough traffic stop reports to the SBI to be in compliance with state requirements.

Deputy Chief Wade Wood presented the six-page APD report that refutes the Southern Coalition for Social Justice’s allegations. The group alleged APD was not submitting the required number of cases to the SBI for record-keeping. But, APD, in it’s report, said “at no time have such audits found any data whatsoever that is consistent with Mr. (Ian) Mance’s (SCSJ) assertion.”

The report said city officials had asked Mance who compiled the report for the specific stops he pulled from a public database. APD’s report stated Mance would not turn over the specifics. The report did state that in an email Mance stated “I have not asserted that we pulled a random representative sample, nor did I say that the under-reporting rate I found in the cases I looked at reflected the under-reporting rate for the whole department.”

News 13 requested an interview with Mance, who is an attorney, but a representative with SCSJ said he was not available until after Tuesday’s council meeting.

Fraternal Order of Police President Rondell Lance said he and other officers were happy the APD report was being submitted to council.

“I appreciate the police department, and the men and women of the police department who’ve complained to me, why is no one standing up for us? They are glad to see this come out,” Lance said.

The report said equipment-based traffic stops disproportionately impact black drivers in Asheville. The report stated, “APD does not dispute these calculations.” APD stated a large portion of the violations are because low-income individuals can’t afford to keep their cars in compliance with state laws. The report stated APD has begun to issue warnings only instead of fee-based tickets on equipment-based traffic stops.

The report also stated body cameras are another method to help verify officers are treating civilians fairly and according to the law during stops, including stops that include a searche consented to by the driver.

Dee Williams chairwoman of Asheville’s NAACP Criminal Justice Committee stands behind the SCSJ report. She said the data analyzed was data submitted by APD to the SBI.

“We want to address what the data does say, and the data does indicate racial profiling,” Williams said.

APD said in its report it is open to reviewing reports like the one submitted by the SCSJ. In this case, APD said it presented evidence in the form of APD data laid out in the report that illustrates the department's officers are not profiling drivers.

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