On Sunday, June 21 a demonstration was held in downtown Asheville against police brutality.
During the protest, locals painted a giant “Defund the Police” mural on Spruce Street in front of the APD station, city hall, and the courthouse.
Around 9 p.m., members of the far-right, including some with weapons, showed up to deface the “Defund the police” mural, pouring blue paint over the first two letters. For hours they spewed racism and threats at anti-racist locals who showed up to oppose them and remove the damage to the mural.
City spokeswoman Polly McDaniel said in an email that the painting was done without a permit. On Monday morning the city sent pressure washers out to erase the mural. Two protesters defending the mural were arrested.
The APD is the largest police force per capita for a city its size in the state. Asheville’s Black communities are sorely underfunded, and the educational, housing, healthcare, and educational disparities are clear as day. Black Ashevillians have been the targets throughout the history of the APD.
There are far better uses for the $30 million APD currently receives. We can solve conflicts using professionals who are suited for the particular calls, whether they be mental health workers, nurses, crisis intervention squads, friends, family, teachers, and when absolutely necessary, people who can disarm and restraint. It’s time to give these resources back to the Black and Brown communities who are disproportionately targeted.