Pubdate: Wed, 13 Sep 2006
Source: Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
Copyright: 2006 Mountain Xpress
Author: Caleb White, Asheville


Mr. Lacy Pickens III was a U.S. citizen protected under the 
Constitution of the United States. Some people want to justify the 
killing of Mr. Pickens [during a July 6 stop by APD] based on his 
past history with the judicial system. The Fourth Amendment says: The 
right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses ... against 
unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated ... but 
upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and 
particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or 
things to be seized.

Given the facts and circumstances confronting the police officers 
(rather than hindsight), with the rank of sergeant, Sgt. Holden 
should have been the reasonable officer on the scene, with a plan to 
have a low-risk stop with other officers at the scene of the stop. It 
could be argued that Officer Chad Bridges is not a "reasonable" 
officer, based on another recent incident with the drug-suppression 
unit that involved serious injuries to Mr. Troy Wyatt on Jan. 25, 
2006. The charge [resisting arrest] against Mr. Wyatt was dropped on 
May 3 in Buncombe County District Court.

Deadly force against Mr. Pickens was not necessary. A reasonable 
officer should have been in charge of the stop, and less intrusive 
methods could have been made to secure the arrest.

The due process clauses in the Fifth and 14th Amendments prohibit the 
federal and state government respectively from depriving "life, 
liberty or property" without due process of the law. The Asheville 
Police Department is not above the Constitution of the United States, 
nor above God's sixth commandment, Thou shalt not kill. Officer 
Bridges pulled the trigger, but he should not be the only one held 
accountable. We should also look to the APD's internal affairs 
office, the city manager, our City Council and the mayor.
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MAP posted-by: Elaine