Over the weekend and early this week, thousands of protesters turned out nationwide in order topay tribute to George Floyd — an unarmed black man who died after Derek Chauvin, a Minneapolis police officer, kneeled on his neck during an arrest last week. The four officers at the scene were all fired, and Chauvin has been criminally charged with third degree murder + manslaughter.
On Sunday, over 200 people came together at Pack Square starting at about 6:00 p.m. to advocate for racial equality. The group marched to I-240, shutting down both directions for a short period of time at about 7:30 p.m. They returned to Vance Monument and then walked onto the Captain Jeff Bowen Bridge before returning a final time to the area around the monument. The crowd was mostly dispersed by 2:30 a.m.
While the protest overall was peaceful, some instances of violence broke out. The Asheville Police Departmentused tear gas and rubber bullets when protestors arrived on the Bowen Bridge just before 9 p.m. Tear gas was deployed later in the evening as well when the crowd had begun to disperse.
Between those incidents, police and protestors engaged in conversation and police walked with the crowd to and from Pack Square. Sometime after midnight, crowds chanted “Take a knee” at officers, who were dressed in full riot gear. After about 20 minutes of chanting, some officers, including Police Chief David Zack, took a kneein front of the police department.
For much of the night, protestors were on hand to pass out water bottles and milk after crowds were tear-gassed, as well as to help organize the crowd.
Four arrests was confirmed by the APD in a press conference on Monday. No injuries had been reported as of yesterday, but Zack said a vehicle did drive through protestors at one point.
OnMonday, protestors gathered for another night at Vance Monument, and the Asheville Fire Department had moved some of its equipment to ensure no interruption to emergency service.
Hundreds of people returned to downtown to protest peacefully in front of the police station, and officers once again took a knee as people chanted around them. At about 10:30 p.m., unknown parties launched fireworks into the crowd, and police responded with tear gas. Multiple fireworks continued to go off and protestors and police tried to put them out. Stay tuned here and to other local news outlets for continued updates.
City leadership released statements on the protests and paths forward for Asheville, condemning police brutality. Chief Zack shared his intention to be transparent and continue efforts to repair damaged relationships with black Ashevillians, and noted that he is planning some major changes for the APD in coming months, including potentially revamping the department’s Use of Force Policy.
City Council and Mayor Esther Manheimer released a similar statement condemning the events surrounding George Floyd’s death and promising to further the city’s work in equity and inclusion efforts.
Now, we want to know what questions you have about the protests or paths forward for the city. What do you want to know? What information can we provide? How can we best utilize our platform to facilitate and elevate meaningful dialogue? You can share your thoughts and questions here.
We’d also love to hear your perspective, especially if you’re a black community member, via our Voices platform, where we turn the mic over to you – our diverse and vibrant community – to share your take on how our community can better facilitate conversations on these important topics.
We want to know what questions you have about the protests or paths forward for the city.
What do you want to know? What information can we provide? How can we best utilize our platform to facilitate and elevate meaningful dialogue?
○ NC’s Department of Health and Human Services reported atotal of 29,263 cases of coronavirus in North Carolina as of Monday afternoon. 346 cases and 24 deaths have been reported in Buncombe County. Check stats for other counties, total tests, and more in NC here.
○ Governor Cooper designated the first of June as a Day of Mourning to honor those who have lost their lives to the coronavirus. More than 100,000 throughout the country have died as a result of COVID-19, and nearly 1,000 deaths have taken place in NC. The governor ordered all state flags to be lowered to half-staff in memory of those who have passed away. (WLOS)
○President Trump + Gov. Roy Cooper spoke by phone last week to discuss the scheduled August Republican National Convention in Charlotte. Trump has threatened to move the convention if Cooper does not agree to allow a full-capacity gathering in August, which goes against Cooper’s current executive order preventing indoor assemblies of more than 10 people. (WBTV)
○ On May 30, Governor Roy Cooper signed Executive Order No. 142, which extended the prohibition of utility shut-offs. It also implements a moratorium on evictions and requires landlords to give tenants a minimum of six months to pay outstanding rent. Cooper signed the order in an effort to prevent homelessness + ensure access to essential utilities. (WLOS)
○ Madison County health officials are reporting a third positive case of coronavirus. The resident is quarantined at home, and contact tracing efforts are now underway. On Wednesday, June 3, the county will launch its first drive-thru testing event at the Spring Creek Community Center from 10 a.m-noon. (Asheville Citizen-Times)
○ The Haywood County Tourism Development Authority has launched a new marketing campaign to attract visitors to the area. The campaign highlights businesses + restaurants that follow recommendations for social distancing and showcases outdoor experiences and adventures. Officials hope the campaign will help reignite tourism to the area, which has suffered due to the pandemic. (WLOS)
Click the button below for local resources regarding the coronavirus.
Hey, there. Looking for today’s #MustDo events? In accordance with the
CDC’s recommendations regarding public gatherings, we have decided to postpone public event coverage for the time being. We look forward to bringing you Asheville’s #MustDo events soon (until then, feel free to submit your virtual events
The Sondley Award recognizes someone who sparks an appreciation for local history or historic resources in their community. It’s been given by the Historic Resources Commission since 1988. 🏆
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Weather ○ 83º | Mostly sunny | 10% chance of rain
Open ○ The Omni Grove Park Innreopened yesterday after implementing new health + safety procedures. As part of its Omni Safe & Clean program, staff will wear masks and gloves, as well as receive health screenings + temperature checks. They are also implementing contactless check-in/check-out and one-way passages. 🏨
Announced ○ Yesterday, drivers resumed paying parking meters, and enforcement of fee payment also resumed after being suspended since Mar. 18. Parking in city + county garages is still free + monthly parking permit fees are still suspended. The city has begun to install 30 new curbside pick-up spaces. 🚗 (WLOS)
Civic ○ The opening of three City of Asheville pools + Splashville has been pushed back until July 1. The pools are located at Recreation Park, Malvern Hills Park + Walton Street Park. Reopening for these locations is delayed due to COVID-19 concerns, as the city waits for guidance from state + local health officials. 🏊♂️ ○ The last phase of the ART Transit Station renovations began yesterday. When completed, 180 photovoltaic array AKA solar panels will be installed. These are the first solar panels in the city + will produce over 74,000 kW hours of electricity per year. Installation will take three weeks to complete. ⚡️
Stat ○ 6%. Buncombe County’s decrease in homelessnes since 2019 – a total of 33 fewer people than the 547 counted in 2019. However, a single-day census from Jan. 29 shows a 71% increase in family homelessnes, from 41 families to 70. While there were declines in chronic homelessness, veteran homelessness + homelessness among unaccompanied youth and young adults, volunteers did the count before the onset of COVID-19. 🏠 (Asheville Citizen-Times)
Number ○ 795.The total acreage of logging approved by the US Forestry Service for the Buck Project — the largest Nantahala National Forest lumber sale in decades. Trees will come from 30 separate stands and will leave 96% of the 20,638-acre area untouched. Sportsmen’s groups praised the decision because logging will open up mature forest to create better wildlife habitat. Environmental groups criticized the decision because it will allow logging in steep, sensitive areas. 🌲 (Asheville Citizen-Times)
Legacy ○ After Alex Standridge passed away April 22 at age 31, he savedfour lives through organ donation. According to LifeShare Carolinas, there are nearly 112,000 people currently waiting for an organ transplant, with a new name added to the list every 10 minutes. ❤️ (WLOS)
Edu ○ UNC Ashevilleannounced Monday that during this time of pain and anxiety, the school has resources available for all faculty, staff + students. Students in need of personal support may contact Health and Counseling Services at 828-251-6520. The Faculty and Staff Employee Assistance Program with confidential counseling24/7 is available at 1-866-440-6556. Read UNC Asheville Chancellor Nancy J. Cable’s full statement here. Ⓟ
Dish ○ Hungry? Tupelo Honey Cafe is beginning #TUPELOANDCHILL tonight. If you buy a family value meal on Tues. or Thrus., you get a free take and bake meal. Order online here + use the code TUPELO&CHILL. 🍗
Asked ○ Several readers have contacted us to inquire about a list of the city’s Black-owned businesses so they can support them. What black-owned businesses do you love and want to shout out? Please let us know.