Buncombe DA reacts to evidence-room audit lawsuit

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The city of Asheville and the Buncombe County District Attorney’s office, located in the Buncombe County Courthouse, seen here, are defendants in a lawsuit led by Carolina Public Press and joined by four other media outlets that want the release of the Asheville Police Department evidence-room audit completed in January. Katie Bailey/Carolina Public Press

On Wednesday, comments were released from what may be Buncombe District Attorney Ron Moore’s first and only public comment since five area media organizations filed a lawsuit on Monday to urge his office and the city of Asheville to release the Asheville Police Department’s evidence-room audit.

The comments, which appeared on NewsRadio 570 WWNC, were from an edited phone interview between reporter Tank Spencer and Moore, who talks about whether he plans to disclose the taxpayer-funded evidence-room audit and whether a “redacted” version — a version with portions omitted — would “mean much to you.”

The Pete Kaliner Show, June 27, 2012.

Follow this  link to hear the entire segment. It appears on Pete Kaliner’s talk show beginning at around minute 23. Spencer also produces the show, which is why he is in this segment discussing the case and Moore’s comments.

Carolina Public Press led the creation of the five-member media coalition that filed a lawsuit in Buncombe County Superior Court arguing that under North Carolina open records law, the audit, which was completed in January and produced by a private contractor hired by the city of Asheville, is a public record. The city paid nearly $175,000 for the audit’s completion.

“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 complaint states. View the complaint in its entirety here.

Carolina Public Press is joined by the Asheville Citizen-Times, Mountain Xpress, WCQS and WLOS in the lawsuit, which follows multiple unsuccessful public records requests seeking the release of the audit documents. The audit was prompted after it was discovered that a substantial number of items, including drugs, prescription medication, weapons and money, were missing from the evidence room maintained by the Asheville Police Department.

WWNC is not part of the lawsuit. But Pete Kaliner and Jerri Jamison, both WWNC hosts, both signed onto a letter released on April 24 that called on Moore to release a copy of the report.


A CPP Special Investigation

Read ongoing special-report coverage from Carolina Public Press about the Asheville Police Department’s evidence-room audit here.

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About the Author

Angie Newsome

Angie Newsome is the executive director and editor of Carolina Public Press. Contact her at (828) 279-0949 or e-mail her at anewsome@carolinapublicpress.org.

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