After Examining the FactsBy
I took it very seriously when allegations were made regarding the conduct of our public safety leadership, and I want to thank the citizens of Asheville for your patience through this process. The events and allegations that came forward since March have demanded a patient, deliberate examination of the facts. City Council, rather than getting swept up in assumptions and preconceived judgments, took its time and learned all of the facts available to us. I want to thank everyone who conducted and cooperated with the investigations. City Council has been attentive and engaged, and we reviewed the facts thoroughly as part of our oversight duty.
I was relieved when District Attorney Ron Moore determined that no criminal laws were violated in the course of APD’s investigation of the accident. The D.A., through his work with the State Bureau of Investigation, did not find Chief Anderson, Captain Gonce, Lieutenant Wilke, or anyone else to have done anything criminal in the handling of this situation. The criminal side of the investigation was in the D.A.’s hands.
Once the criminal investigation concluded, and upon receipt of Lt. Wilke’s formal complaint, City Staff undertook an administrative investigation. By waiting until the SBI concluded their efforts, Staff made sure that they would in no way interfere with the criminal investigation. Special thanks to Deputy City Manager Jeff Richardson, Human Resources Manager Derrick Swing, Human Resources Director Kelley Dickens, and Interim City Attorney Martha McGlohon for their hard work in gathering all of the facts as expeditiously as possible. Allegations that City Staff members were unresponsive at any point in this series of events are not borne out by the facts.
The facts are that Asheville City Staff applied administrative policies and procedures in an even-handed, professional, and timely manner. Based on the findings, steps were taken to address individual actions and APD organizational issues. I’m confident that the investigations were undertaken appropriately, well within the defined policies and procedures for such complaints. The organizational efforts are targeted to resolve long-standing issues within the department, and the individual actions will improve the department’s overall dynamic.
While many of the findings of this administrative process are confidential as indicated by NC General Statutes, I’m committed to as much transparency as possible, and this is why I supported the resolution allowing the City Manager to release as many details as legally allowed. I wish I could say more, but NCGS 160A-168 lets me know that it would be a misdemeanor to do so. Frustrating as that is, I’m grateful to those of you who understand the limitations of the law and who understand that City Council has made its decisions based on a comprehensive set of facts.