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FOP president links anti-police sentiment to recent acts of vandalism, arson in Asheville


By Taylor Thompson

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    ASHEVILLE, North Carolina (WLOS) — Asheville Fraternal Order of Police President Rondell Lance believes a council member’s slashed car tires and Asheville Police Department’s two torched patrol vehicles are the result of an anti-police and anti-government mindset within the city.

On Thursday, all Asheville City Council members except Kim Roney and Antanette Mosley signed a letter regarding solutions for public safety in the community. The letter mentioned approaches in preventing crime and investing in the police department.

Hours after that, council member Maggie Ullman took to social media to say someone went to her home and slashed her car tires and smashed her windows.

In the early hours of Monday, someone set two unoccupied APD vehicles on fire. They were destroyed.

During this time, an anarchist book fair was being hosted in Asheville.

APD Chief David Zack told News13 earlier that the timeline of the letter, Ullman’s slashed tires, the anarchist book fair and the APD vehicle fires is suspicious.

He said police are exploring the idea these events are connected.

Rondell Lance, a former APD sergeant who has been president of the FOP for the last 25 years, said, from what he’s gathered, a lot of people are upset the city council is even discussing solutions regarding public safety.

Lance said the lack of support for law enforcement is nothing new to Asheville.

“We can burn police cars, we can break windows, there will be no consequences for what we do,” he said.

He said city council members are working to make things better, like with the letter, but they’re afraid to change too much because they’re afraid of the group of anarchists.

Lance said it was not a coincidence that an anarchist book fair was being held during the same weekend that two APD cruisers were burned.

To him, the issue is that there’s a certain mindset controlling the city.

“Anti-police, anti-government, that’s the mindset within the city limits of Asheville,” he said.

Mayor Esther Manheimer released a statement following the two patrol vehicles set on fire:

The recent incidents of violence targeting elected officials and city employees are completely unacceptable. Personal attacks and acts of violence have no place in our city. While we may hold different opinions on various issues, let us unite as a community condemning violence and reaffirm our dedication to fostering a respectful and constructive dialogue among ourselves.”

APD said the FBI is involved in the investigation of the vehicle fires.

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