Mountain Xpress: Local media sue DA, city of Asheville over evidence room records
From the Mountain Xpress (6/25/12): Xpress and four other local media outlets are suing District Attorney Ron Moore and the city of Asheville, seeking to make public the audit of guns, drugs, and money missing from the Asheville Police Department evidence room.
Carolina Public Press coordinated research and preparation of the complaint; a joint effort with Xpress, Asheville Citizen-Times, WLOS, and WCQS. The lawsuit was officially filed today in Buncombe County Superior Court.
“The issue represents a matter of substantial public importance because it involves not only the conduct and procedures of the Asheville Police Department, but also impacts the integrity of the cases investigated by the police department,” the filing reads. “Defendants have failed and refused, and continue to fail and refuse, to provide Plaintiffs with access to the audit report.”
News emerged last year that more than 115 items were missing from the APD evidence room. Asheville City Council ordered a $175,000 audit and then-APD Chief Bill Hogan promptly resigned. But after the audit was finished in January, the district attorney declined to release it in the face of multiple records requests. The suit seeks an order compelling Moore to disclose the report and the city to obtain a copy of the audit it's entitled to under the terms of the contract.