Asheville police captain fired after investigation into 'hostile' behavior
An Asheville Police Captain has been fired. A third-party investigator found Captain Stony Gonce intimidated and had “hostile” behavior toward several members of the Asheville Police Department. The letter also says Gonce tried to interfere with APD's criminal investigation into former Officer Chris Hickman.
The termination letter reveals how the now former Captain is accused of violating 14 different personnel policies. It also contains disturbing comments from a number of city employees that claim Gonce harassed them.
Complaints from employees include the following qoutes:
- "My family and I are scared. I do not know what he is capable of."
- "He is one of the most evil men I have ever met."
- "I live in fear of Gonce."
Gonce was recently the Captain in charge of criminal investigations. He's been on paid suspension since the beginning of March, but the letter indicates Gonce received written warning about his conduct back in November.
The independent investigator found that Gonce provided contradictory answers and an active attempt to change his story over the course of the investigation and failed to provide facts that could be substantiated. The letter from Chief Hooper says that's concerning in general, but also because he was in charge of criminal investigations.
The letter also says Gonce attempted to interfere with the investigation into Officer Christopher Hickman. Hooper says she got a letter from a lieutenant outlining how Gonce directed him to write a memo about Hickman investigation with false information. The Lieutenant's letter is dated February 27th. The Citizen-Times published Hickman's body camera video the 28th. Asheville's HR placed Gonce on paid investigative suspension March, 2nd. News13 interviewed Chief Hooper March, 5th.
"Has the status of Captain Gonce changed since Friday," News13's Aaron Adelson asked.
"I'm not going to talk about personnel issues involving other employees that are not associated with this case in any way," answered Chief Hooper.
Following up Tuesday, an APD spokesperson says Hooper was commenting specifically on the use of force incident involving Hickman in August, not the later investigation.
Gonce has the right to appeal his termination. A signature acknowledging receipt of the termination letter is signed by a representative for Jack Stewart, a criminal law attorney. News13 reached out to Stewart's office.