by Jaweed Kalim
Originally published: July 26, 2016
When a white officer launched seven bullets into a black man outside a housing project here early this month, there were chants of “black lives matter” in the streets, accusations of racism, and demands for an investigation and answers.
But unlike other police-involved deaths of black men across the country, the fatal shooting of Jai “Jerry” Williams on July 2 had no viral video. And instead of dividing a community between those who accept the police version of events and those who question it, Williams’ death has united residents in grief while opening wounds about race in this liberal Southern enclave.
In Asheville, a majority-white city of 88,000 whose tourism board has touted it as a place where Americans can live life “any way you like it,” news of the shooting has gradually made its way through the community after being overshadowed by national events, shocking white residents into soul-searching and an identity crisis.