Asheville Gestapo

August 22, 2007 By: erik Category: Politics, Stuff I Found, USA 684 views

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Civil liberties violation in my home state. This saddens me greatly. I wish it surprised me more than it does, too.

On Wednesday August 15, I was standing alone with my sign for about 10 minutes, when I was approached by Police Officer Russell Crisp. He asked me how long I was planning to stay there and I told him just a few more minutes because I had to go to work at 8:00. He asked for my ID and I obliged. I asked him if I was doing something wrong, and he said that his Sergeant was on the way and he was going to wait for him. SO, I went back to my sign holding over the interstate.

A few minutes later Sergeant Randy Riddle showed up with a paper in his hand. He spoke briefly to Crisp, then walked over to me and told me to put down my sign, put my hands behind my back, and that I was under arrest! I was shocked and almost thought he was joking until he told me again to put down the sign and put my hands behind me and I was under arrest. So I peacefully agreed and he cuffed me. I asked him why I was being arrested, he told me I was in violation County Ordinance 16-2, (the print out in his hand that he didn’t bother to read to me or show me.) He told me I was obstructing the sidewalk. I told him I was not and that officer Crisp had witnessed a guy walk by me moments before.

Riddle yelled at me, “You were obstructing the sidewalk!” and “I’m sick of this shit!” then he said, “Here’s your 15 minutes of fame buddy!” I looked back to see his name plate and he said in a mean condescending tone, “Yea, that’s ‘Sergeant Riddle’ get it right!” He then put me in Officer Crisp’s police car. Riddle took my sign with him and I was taken downtown and booked by Crisp. I was never read my Miranda rights.

  • This is tragic. Is there a police complaints authority in NC? Can he sue for wrongful arrest? It is America after all 😉

  • There will no doubt be political fallout. As one of the comments on that first link said,

    The stench of this incident has gone nationwide. It is an embarrassment for me to admit that I was born and raised in Asheville. I trust that you will seek to put Asheville back on a footing based upon the Constitution of the United States, and redress this outrage and embarrassment.

    If not, I hope Mr Phillips sues the living shirt, socks, pants and shoes off the city.

  • Paul

    We have no police complaints authority. In America, the Land of the Lawyers, we rely upon an organization called the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU – to keep misuses of authority such as this to a tolerable minimum. They can take only a few cases each year, but if they take your case, they’ll win it. If they won’t take the case, there will still be ten thousand barristers begging for it at no cost to you. For having their clerks file some papers, they’ll get 35% of your haul.

    Cowboy officers have been a part of this country for all 231 years. At their worst, they beat you, cuffed you, kidnapped you, pissed on you and hung you. They are not that bad now, so maybe we have made progress.

    I do think that civil liberties are influenced by top leadership. The President (and the Vice) have set the tone – civil rights are not as important as maintaining the myth of insecurity. This empowers people like Officers Crisp and Riddle to insert their own agenda into their understanding of their job. It makes me long for the days when the tide was going the other way; when President Kennedy and his brother were at the top, paving the way for LBJ and our civil rights heyday.

    Saddest of all is that we are not actually ALL clamoring for our legislature to impeach Bush. What does a guy have to do to warrant impeachment proceedings around here? Don’t answer that – I remember now.