one said to have white supremacist ties, have been charged for carrying guns at downtown demonstrations. The 3 were charged by method of criminal summons with breaking NC General Statute 14-277.2,”Weapons at Parades, AND SO ON, Prohibited,”according to a July 7 release from the Asheville Police Department. Those charged were: – Zachary Steve McFarland, 30, of Asheville. – William Jay Turknett, 36, of Hendersonville. – Joshua Cody Case, 35, of Candler.
A male with an AR-15 rifle stands near an Asheville Police bicycle officer at a June 21, 2020, presentation in
downtown Asheville. Carrying of unsafe weapons at a demonstration is unlawful in North Carolina, but the law has some gray locations. (Photo: Courtesy of Jarret Porter) Case has actually likewise been charged with carrying a gun within a city park. Infraction of the state statute against firearms at demonstrations is a class 1 misdemeanor and brings a sentence of up to 120 days in custody said City Attorney Brad Branham. Violation of the city park regulation is a class 3 misdemeanor punishable usually with a great or up to 20 days in custody, Branham said. Both sentences would vary depending on a lawbreaker’s criminal history.
Case, reached through Facebook, decreased to speak about the protest or the charge. In expletive-filled answers, he threatened that his name must not appear in any more newspaper article or he would sue for slander.
In a June 27 video posted on Facebook Case responded to accusations he was a member of the Ku Klux Klan, stating he “may have been a member five years ago,” but wasn’t now. In a 2018 post he promoted the neo-confederate League of the South, classified by the Southern Hardship Law Center as a hate group.
While belonging to such groups is not a crime, APD Chief David Zack stated cops would collect intelligence on anybody promoting violence.
Turknett and McFarland did not react to messages.
On July 3 on his Facebook page Turknett posted a video of him singing “God Bless the U.S.A.” He wrote that “the news wants individuals to believe that I’m something I’m not, and I desire people to see who I really am. I’m an American. I enjoy my country and my fellow male.”
He said he would combat with authorities “or any common citizen to safeguard the honor and opportunity of having the right to call myself an American.”
Counterdemonstrators, consisting of a number of who were armed, pertained to the area of Roger McGuire Green after BLM protesters painted “Defund the Cops” in big letters on the street in front of APD headquarters.
McFarland had no current posts on his Facebook page.
Cops dealt with criticism for not making arrests instantly at the June 21 protests and for what many said was greater leeway offered to the white counterprotesters. Witnesses said BLM protester McFarland was cooperative at the time and when asked by cops to put his holstered pistol away in his cars and truck, he did
so. But two pro-police counterdemonstrators, Turknett and Case, were allowed to continue carrying what appeared to be assault-style rifles.
Zack has protected the handling of the armed protesters, stating some cooperated with cops requests and some didn’t. Zack said officers wished to avoid a situation where shots might be fired in a congested downtown location.
The July 7 release echoed that, saying “fortunately, no acts of violence occurred and the APD chosen to avoid direct intervention with those individuals in an attempt to avoid more intensifying the participants.”
Joel Citizen has resided in WNC for more than 20 years, covering politics, government and other news. He’s written award-winning stories on subjects ranging from gerrymandering to authorities use of force. Please help support this type of journalism with a membership to the Resident Times. Read or Share this story: https://www.citizen-times.com/story/news/local/2020/07/07/asheville-black-lives-matter-counterprotesters-charged-carrying-guns/5390558002/Source: citizen-times. com