Video shows confrontation during Asheville police arrest

ASHEVILLE, N.C. -- A nine-second video posted on Facebook shows a struggle between an Asheville Police officer and a teenage girl who either falls or is pushed to the ground.

The video on the Asheville Black Lives Matter Community Facebook page was posted Monday night with a message urging people to "Share this video everywhere you can and get the DOJ up here NOW."

Several witnesses at Hillcrest Apartments say the girl was shoved to the ground as officers tried to arrest her.

“The police officer grabbed her and threw her up against the car,” said witness Cynthia Underwood, a Hillcrest resident. “(Then) he pushed her, and she fell.”

Police spokeswoman Christina Hallingse said the teen was resisting officers when she was told they were going to place her under arrest.

WARNING: The following video contains graphic material and profanity.

She was charged with assault on a government official and resist, delay, obstruction of an officer, according to an APD incident report. Both charges are misdemeanors.

The girl, who is not being identified by the Citizen-Times because of her age, could not be reached for comment.

A second video, about 90 seconds long, was shared late Tuesday morning. It shows a man who had been arrested by officers and a teenager walking away from officers.

Before officers arrived about 9 p.m. Monday, Underwood said the girl, who is biracial, had been talking in the street with her brother, Dominique Lamar Fore, while celebrating her 16th birthday.

A second witness, Charles Payton, said events unfolded as the girl was asking an officer why Fore was being arrested.

“He just pushed her with a hard force so hard that she fell backwards like in a TV show when somebody gets hit and they go flying,” he said.

Hallingse said officers were attempting to serve a warrant on Fore, 25, of Asheville, when the 16-year-old interfered with the arrest. The confrontation happened near apartment building 10 in the public housing development.

"She was yelling and pulling things out of (Dominique Fore's) pockets," Hallingse said. "She was warned several times by officers, and she never complied to those commands."

In the video, the teenager appeared to be pulling away from officers while they attempted to handcuff her. People can be heard yelling expletives in the background. A crowd watched as the girl was placed in the back of a patrol vehicle and taken into custody.

A third witness, Natalie Jones, said what she saw was unnecessary.

"I was just in a state of awe," she said as she stood on the sidewalk Tuesday not far from where the arrest was made.

"I couldn't believe that was really happening," Jones said. "As more (officers) came, the scene became more aggressive."

Officers were investigating the confrontation and could not comment further, Hallingse said Tuesday morning. Upon review of the video posted to social media, Hallingse issued a statement Tuesday afternoon.

"The Asheville Police Department is in the process of conducting a full administrative investigation that will review all evidence, including the video circulating on social media and body worn camera footage, in our review," Hallingse said in the statement. "The Asheville Police Department is dedicated to providing the best possible police service and upon completion of the review will take appropriate action, if deemed necessary.

"The 9-second video that is circulating on Facebook is only a small snippet of a much longer incident," Hallingse said in an email. "I would ask, and encourage, (anyone with information) to share any additional video(s)/evidence that is available."

According to Hallingse, the confrontation lasted for 15 minutes. Police did not respond to a request for the arresting officer's name.

Fore had been charged in another county with injury to real property. A warrant for his arrest was issued Aug. 31. He also is facing charges of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury, discharge of a firearm within city limits and possession of a firearm by a felon stemming from a May 6 shooting at Hillcrest and confrontation involving a gun at Deaverview.

The video was discussed by Showing Up for Racial Justice, an activist group, Tuesday morning at Firestorm Café during a regularly scheduled meeting with about a dozen people attending.

They said the Hillcrest confrontation perpetuates a cycle of police violence in Asheville and throughout the United States. They referenced the recent death of Jai “Jerry” Williams, who was shot by police in July at Deaverview Apartments when he brandished an AR-15, according to police reports.

The State Bureau of Investigation is investigating the shooting of Williams.

“Every time something happens, there’s violence in response to violence, whether it’s verbally or physically,” TJ Amos said. “I don’t know how we’re going to break out of that cycle when there’s so much emotion.”

Vahisha Hasan said the group has contacted Asheville Police Chief Tammy Hooper, and she has been responsive to requests to address the community. A Police Department representative planned to have a moderated discussion with community members 7-9 p.m. Tuesday at First Congregation United Church of Christ.

Rallies were planned for later Tuesday, attendees said, including one outside of City Hall that would coincide with a City Council meeting.

Click here to see the video. Please be advised that the video contains profanity.

Citizen-Times reporter Emily Patrick contributed to this article. 

Copyright 2016 WCNC


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