Constable’s job force linked to civil rights match still exists despite plan to abolish it – Citizen Times

7July 2020

CLOSE ASHEVILLE-A cops drug task force with links to a traffic stop that included the handcuffing of two

black offenders for 4 hours and strip browsing them in a corner store restroom before letting them go was to be liquified in February, according to a statement from the city and county’s top police officials. But 5 months later, the Buncombe County Anti-Crime Task Force continues to run under Constable Quentin Miller, with Miller recently stating it was never ever

the intent to entirely do away with the system. Miller decreased a July 6 request for comment.

, would not comment, according to Brian Elston, an attorney assisting him.” We are actively in lawsuits and in depositions,”Elston stated. Pulled over, strip browsed The

job force, formed in 2008, integrated sheriff’s deputies and Asheville Police Department officers to work against drug trafficking. On Jan. 20,

2018, constable’s deputies in BCAT were involved in the traffic stop of Hyatt and his pal, Brandon Pickens. The two were pulled over in

Candler by Deputy J.D. Lambert for what he stated was failure to indicate a lane modification. Deputies stated a drug canine signaled on Pickens’ cars and truck, which they searched while apprehending the males for practically four hours. Deputies obtained a search warrant for Pickens and Hyatt, whose records included a number of drug felonies and one misdemeanor drug charge, respectively. They performed strip searches on the men in the restroom of Faststop on Smokey Park Highway.

Buy Picture Brandon Pickens, left, and Marcus Hyatt, right, were pulled over by authorities for failure to use a turn signal when changing lanes in late January. Buncombe County Sheriff deputies apprehended the two males for four hours and strip browsed them in a gasoline station restroom searching for drugs. When absolutely nothing illegal was discovered they were eventually let go.(Picture: Angeli Wright/awright@citizen-times.com)Both were released without charges. Hyatt said he was hurt by the position he was kept in with handcuffs and by what he described as the rough search. Throughout their detention, Deputy Katherine Lewis pulled over Hyatt’s girlfriend, Ashley Barrett, at another location, saying her insurance was expired. Barrett decreased demands to search her car and later on her home however stated she was threatened that her car would be seized and kids taken by social services. Barrett, who is white, likewise said deputies made racial remarks including that Black men”shack up with white ladies, so they can offer drugs out of their house,”according to the lawsuit declaring civil rights infractions based on race. Brandon Freeman, attorney for the county and the offenders, stated Deputy Jeff May, who was likewise on the scene, smelled crack cocaine coming from the car and that substance he drew from him checked positive for cocaine. Deputies did not touch Hyatt throughout the search and did not make racist remarks, Freeman said.

Buy Image The Fastop on Smoky Park Highway is where Marcus Hyatt and Brandon Pickens were

held and strip browsed after being pulled over for a minor traffic offense in January. Police were searching for drugs on the guys but discovered nothing. (Image: Angeli Wright/awright@citizen-times.com) APD pulls out, but not liquified The detention and search occurred during the period of Constable Van Duncan, who was chosen as a Democrat however became unaffiliated in October 2018 soon before the end of his term. He did not seek reelection and in November of that year, citizens picked Miller, a Democrat,

as county’s first Black constable. In February, Miller and Asheville Police Chief David Zack publicly announced the end of the job force partnership, offering no description. The 2 decreased to comment about reasons

behind the dissolution. Feb. 6 and 7 letters between the two law enforcement heads gotten by the Resident Times likewise gave no factors.

“Based upon your letter, and my acceptance, the Buncombe County Anti-Crime Job Force ceases operation on February 7, 2020,” Miller wrote.

Reacting March 27 to a records ask for the sheriff’s emails and texts connected to BCAT, spokesman Aaron Sarver said the demand was still being processed by the information technology department however would likely be delayed due to the fact that of the pandemic. Sarver stated he would offer an updated timeline however had not by July 6.

The letters said that forfeiture cash and devices had currently been equitably dispersed between the 2 agencies.

In the last 2 fiscal years, which range from July 1 – June 30, BCAT and the constable’s office collected $368,799 and $592,058 in criminal loss cash, according to county budget plan files. This year, that is expected to be $528,489.

Since February BCAT has actually made arrests and seized drugs in a minimum of 3 circumstances.

In a June 24 interview with the Person Times, Miller said Zack, who ended up being chief Feb. 4, chose to pull out APD, but that the sheriff’s workplace was continuing the job force with the help of other sheriffs around the area.”When the chief of police came in, he chose that he wished to do something different with those resources that were provided that usually went to BCAT and so, we continue BCAT,” Miller stated.

He declined to say what if any function Hyatt’s lawsuit played in the decision about BCAT, stating he could not comment since it was still under lawsuits.

Zack, who has actually suggested he wishes to

end APD’s drug suppression unit, referred July 6 questions about BCAT to Miller. Fraternal Order of Authorities President Rondell Lance stated he did not believe the civil liberties suit was the reason APD pulled out and that modifications in leadership of the 2 departments most likely led to “dysfunction” and “confusion” in BCAT.

“I think it didn’t have a single instructions and members were pursuing their own things,” Lance said.

Joel Burgess has lived in WNC for more than 20 years, covering politics, government and other news. He’s written acclaimed stories on topics ranging from gerrymandering to authorities usage of force. Please assist support this kind of journalism with a membership to the Person Times. Check out or Share this story: https://www.citizen-times.com/story/news/local/2020/07/07/sheriffs-task-force-linked-civil-rights-suit-still-exists-despite-announced-dissolution/5383586002/Source: citizen-times. com

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