Asheville police to probe complaints about excessive force

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) — Police in the North Carolina city of Asheville will investigate new excessive force complaints stemming from Black Lives Matter protests in the spring.

The Asheville Citizen Times reported Thursday that the Asheville Police Department said it will investigate about 20 new complaints filed by the Racial Justice Coalition.

The demonstrations occurred in May and June following the death of George Floyd, a Black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis.

Racial Justice Coalition attorney Ben Scales outlined some of the complaints at the City Council’s public safety committee meeting on Tuesday. He said police failed to follow policies that require chemical munitions to be used only after a dispersal warning is given to an entire crowd. He said that officers also aimed munitions at individuals and did not immediately attend to the injured.

Asheville police Chief David Zack told the committee that the department is completing an after-action report. He said officers compiled footage from body cameras and social media and unofficial complaints made on Facebook and Twitter.

Zack said the department will identify “policies and practices that failed to meet community expectations in law enforcement professional standards.”

Zack said individual complaints against officers would be handled in a separate process, which is not public record.

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