May 8, 2003
Asheville Justice Watch
ASHEVILLE - Asheville Justice Watch (www.ashevillejusticewatch.org) has released video taken by amateur camera operators of allegedly abusive arrests by the Asheville Police Department. The video is available for public viewing through the Mountain Area Information Network (MAIN) Web site at www.main.nc.us.
The video was shot on March 20, 2003, during a protest related to the start of the United States-led invasion of Iraq. The 10-minute video clip was taken from more than an hour of footage shot by four local citizens who attended the peace march. The citizens group also released a five-minute segment of the arrests of several bicyclists at a demonstration the following day.
Asheville Justice Watch is a group formed to push for the creation of a citizen oversight committee for the Asheville Police Department. Justice Watch member David Lynch said the tape, along with other evidence, demonstrates the need for outside supervision of the city's law enforcement agency.
"These videos represent just one instance documenting the APD's inappropriate behavior," Lynch said. "Asheville Justice Watch has documented many other incidents to make its case for the creation of a Citizen's Oversight Board."
Though the amateur videos have been shown in community forums by Asheville Justice Watch, they have not yet been broadcast for viewing by the general public. MAIN executive director Wally Bowen said the seriousness of the allegations makes it critical the public have access to this video.
"As a community network, MAIN aims to provide vital information on matters of public policy to the citizens of our mountain region," Bowen said. "We hope this video will serve to promote a growing community dialogue on how citizens practice their First Amendment rights, and how local authorities respect those rights."
Asheville Justice Watch will hold its next public meeting on May 28th at 7 pm at the Montford Community Center at 34 Pearson Drive. Asheville Justice Watch may be reached via email at email@example.com.
To view the video, click on the appropriate link below, depending on the media player you have installed on your computer. The Real Player format is recommended, particularly for users without broadband Internet access, because the video will stream automatically and the file sizes are smaller. If you choose another format, you may either open the file from its remote location or download the file to your own computer.
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