Jul 16, 2012
09:24 AMThe Daily Scoop
NAACP Addresses March Green Meadows Shooting
Representatives of the National Association of Colored People want more answers following a March shooting incident involving local law enforcement that resulted in a Hendersonville Police Officer being fired and two others facing disciplinary measures.
On March 7, Hendersonville Police officers arrested Fletcher Smiley in the Green Meadows community in response to a report of a breaking and entering on Seventh Avenue.
Official reports indicate during the altercation stray bullets struck several structures in the area, including Union Grove Baptist Church and that several local residents thought the use of force was excessive especially in such close proximity to the church and nearby residents and because no weapon used by the suspect was ever found.
Monday, North Carolina NAACP President Rev. William Barber said his organization wants the city's internal investigation, as well as the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation made public and that the US Justice Department should launch a civil rights investigation.
"It had enough for one person to be fired," Barber said in a news conference outside the church. "The evidence is still on the walls of the church, in the homes and in the hearts and minds of the people who were terrorized."
Last month, the city of Hendersonville released a statement announcing that after reviewing their internal investigation and that of the SBI, Hendersonville Police Officer Matt Lund was fired, Officer Curtis Philon would be suspended for two weeks without pay and be required to attend remedial training as directed by the department. Sergeant Brandon McGaha, the supervisor on duty at the time, received a written reprimand.
The city said their officers underwent appropriate force training just before the incident, yet their actions were still in direct violation of police department policies.
"The City of Hendersonville apologizes to the Green Meadows Community for this unfortunate incident, the threat to individual safety resulting from these actions, and the disruption to community life that resulted from these actions. We believe we have acted appropriately in responding to the incident with this termination and disciplinary actions," the city said in an official statement released about the incident last month. "Further, we wish to publicly affirm our belief in the safety of the Green Meadows neighborhood, and the strong social fabric and sense of community that has been built by its residents. Green Meadows is an important part of the City of Hendersonville, and contributes greatly to the quality of life that our community is known for."
Monday afternoon, Hendersonville City Manager Bo Ferguson reiterated the city's willingness to rebuild community relations following the incident.
"We are happy to cooperate with any investigation in regards to this situation," Ferguson said. "As far as releasing a report, that is something we don't have. What we generated from our internal investigation was really notes from investigators from all the parties involved and we based our findings on that. The lack of a report is not something we are sitting on or withholding, but we remain committed to discussing the findings with anyone who still has questions or concerns."
District Attorney Jeff Hunt responded that his office has previously released the entire SBI report to attorneys representing Fletcher Smiley and cannot discuss any non-criminal aspects of the case with the suspect is awaiting trial, but added that he does not understand the actions of the NAACP in the matter.
"I fail to identify any racial component in all of this," Hunt said in a news release, "however, as always, I and everyone in my office will fully cooperate with authorities in either the U.S. Department of Justice, or the North Carolina Department of Justice should they think otherwise."
The NC NAACP said they are currently working to reorganize the local Hendersonville chapter to prepare to meet with local, state and federal officials regarding the incident.