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‘Little Hitler!’ Man yells, punches woman at Pack library, gets banned

| March 17, 2014 | Comments (36)

pack_library_2014A man who yelled at a woman and punched her in the face after she asked him to be quiet inside Asheville’s Pack Memorial Library has been banned from the stacks, according to incident reports and the library director.

It was an unusual scene for a library that sees its share of disturbances. Here’s what happened, according to a library incident report and an Asheville Police Department incident report:

About 6 p.m. on March 6, Catherine Shane asked Philip Banks and Fernando Espejo-Saaveda to be quiet so her friend could study. Banks suggested she and her friend go to a study area. The woman returned to where her friend was sitting.

“Mr. Espejo-Saaveda went over to them and yelled at the woman ‘little Hitler,’” the library report stated. “Ms. Shane put her hands on Mr. Espejo-Saaveda, who then struck her in the face. Much yelling ensued.”

The library’s director, Ed Sheary, banned Espejo-Saaveda from county libraries for a year.

Sheary said the incident was unusual, although there are about four or five incidents that library staff consider reportable each week and write up in incident reports. Most are of the “drunk and disorderly” type, Sheary said.

The library does not have a hard and fast rule regarding quiet among the stacks. The rule boils down to: “are you interfering with the use of the library by others,” Sheary said. There’s a lot of contention around that rule, with some people seeing the library as an extension of Pritchard Park, while others view it more as a research library, Sheary said.

The library has dealt with unruly patrons for years, but physical changes to the building a few years back cut down on disruptive incidents, Sheary said. The library moved bathrooms to an outer hallway and did away with group seating. Now, the hottest area for disputes about quiet center on the computer area, where people sit together to use the library’s machines, he said.

Here’s the library’s incident report:

Pack_Library_report_030614

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Category: Asheville News

About Jason Sandford: Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville. View author profile.

Comments (36)

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  1. Nate says:

    You honestly believe that a “Library Incident Report” rises to the same level as a police report as public information? You genuinely think it’s appropriate to post the actual report here, which includes the shouter’s home address information, even when you had already quoted the entire relevant text? And you really, truly think that this is such a big “public” story that you need to include the names of the people involved, even after they’ve politely requested that you not?

    Wow.

    • I’ve got a copy of the police report, if you want to see that.

      • Nate says:

        Why would I want to see that, when the incident clearly isn’t newsworthy to begin with? The fact that documents are public records doesn’t in any way obligate you to bring them to the attention of a wider audience, and one guy acting up and having his library privileges revoked simply isn’t something that the world needs to know. You’re holding a megaphone here, as one of the only large-audience general interest blogs in town, and how you choose to employ that megaphone says something about what you want this blog to be.

        • Radio Follower says:

          Nate…This is a BLOG. You’re holding Jason to the same standards as a newspaper.

          • Nate says:

            I would say I’m doing the exact opposite. A “serious journalistic enterprise” would obviously not be willing to pull down articles just because the subjects requested it. A blog is a more personal platform that allows that kind of flexibility, and I can’t even count the number of times that Jason has fallen back on the fact that this is “just a blog” not a real news operation in defense of posting unsourced rumors or half-assed reporting. It’s only when readers push back on individual posts that we start hearing the rhetoric about the public’s right to know and journalistic integrity. That’s fine, and honestly I’m not about to stop reading, but don’t try to pretend that it’s in any way consistent.

        • Smytty says:

          I would argue that it says something about what YOU want this blog to be.

          I would also argue that by the number of comments, this was “newsworthy.”

          Now, as to whether or not it should be taken down at the victim’s request – that’s a different issue. Not sure how you can say it isn’t newsworthy when it has already garnered this many clicks and comments.

          • Nate says:

            “Clickworthy” and “response-worthy” and “newsworthy” are three completely different metrics. The fact that you can post something that pisses enough people off that they choose to post about it and respond to other’s comments doesn’t mean that the post itself was inherently valid or necessary or news. And obviously my comments are saying something about what I want this blog to be, but blogs are inherently an interactive medium, and the ones that are successful build a rapport and relationship and *community* with their readers. Sometimes, that seems to be a priority around here but not always.

          • Smytty says:

            (replying to Nate below, obviously)

            This comes up every few weeks. Jason hosts this blog and posts items. I have never once heard him explain that his blog is anything other than a hobby and have never heard him try explain his journalistic intentions.

            You, dear reader, are the one who is projecting what you want this to be. How can you hold him to standards of any sort, when he has never purported to be “news?” He isn’t obligated in any way to follow stories that the public demands and he can post whatever he deems to be interesting.

            As far as a blog goes, it is definitely successful based on clicks and comments.

  2. truckwilkins says:

    just think how nice Asheville was before all you Yankees showed up!you escaped from what ever hell hole you came from but when you showed up in our homeland did you abandon your nasty ways?nope you have made our homeland into the same hellhole you came from where will you escape to next?save our mountain environment go home!beware the southron who is no longer polite truckwilkins

    • hauntedheadnc says:

      Well, that’s nice and all but as a native whose roots here go back to the 1770′s, I have to point out that if weren’t for one particular Northerner (and you know who I’m talking about) modern Asheville would probably be no bigger or important, or smell any nicer, than Canton.

      Please think before you speak and make a moron out of yourself.

    • Foothills Dweller says:

      What the fuck does the North have to do with any of this? Haunted Head’s correct – you’re a moron.

    • Big Al says:

      You have just proved that being “southern” is no guarantee of having manners or class.

      I am of NC stock since 1761 and find you to be an embarrassment to southerners and not fit to comment on what outsiders bring to our state.

  3. flimflock says:

    Jason, perhaps you could remove the victim’s name in an effort to respect her privacy?

    • flim, thanks for your note. The event happened in a public space, resulted in a police incident report and a library incident report (public records) and does not rise to the standard of one necessary to redact the name of the victim, in my opinion.

      • Josh says:

        Does adding the victim’s name add to the story? You aren’t required to remove it, but your choice to include her name certainly adds to her humiliation. I seriously doubt you would have published this story about a family member, but only you know the answer to that question. Yeah it’s public space and public record, but really how accessible was it until you decided to publish it?

        The only thing that sets this apart from the many other similar situations that unfortunately are a daily part of life, is the fact that the man yelled out something about Hitler. That made it bizarre. The news here is that this dude is unhinged and potentially dangerous. Including the victim’s name was not wrong, it just showed a lack of humanity and a healthy dose of bad taste.

      • Matt says:

        It’s not about you or your opinion Jason, it’s about the victims and their polite and reasonable request. This is not news, not worthy of community discussion. No important ideas are being shared. Just sensationalism at the expense of others. It’s not in keeping with the rest of the blog.

  4. mellissa crouch says:

    Dear Jason-
    This my girlfriend. I was there. This was a tramatic event for her. She was assaulted. Please take this down. We did not press charges because we were trying to make peace about it without making a scene. The report is wrong her hands were not on him first.

    I work at WCQS. I first consulted my co- worker and friend David Hurand on how to handle this matter discretely. We want our privacy.

    This is not news. There are other cultural sensitivies going on in the matter you don’t know about. Please again take this down. As a friend working in public radio, avid reader of Ashvegas, and Asheville resident that would like privacy.

    Respectfully- Mellissa

    • Mellisa, thank you for you note. In my opinion this is news – the library director told me it was an unusual event. If you disagree with the library report, please take it up with the library. I understand there were no charges pressed, but I have a copy of the police incident report, and the fact is the assailant was banned from libraries for a year.

      • Sean says:

        Agreed.

      • gjohn says:

        If it’s news, then the least you can do is try to contact everyone involved before publishing their names.

        • mellissa says:

          Thank you gjohn exactly – no one tried to contact us and no one was arrested, more stellar reporting from Ashvegas.

          • ashevillain says:

            Is it “reporting” or is it a blog? I’m confused.

            He seems to change his tune depending on whichever fits the “story” better. Right now it seems like he’s “reporting” but there are other times where he says it’s just a blog.

      • Realist says:

        Of course the cat’s out of the bag now, but COME ON, she has a point to want her privacy. Why not protect her identity if that’s her wish? It’s still “news” if she’s listed as “unnamed” or “Jane Doe.”

        • Mellissa crouch says:

          Dear Jason –
          Again I asking you to please remove this. Your news reporting is wrong. No one was arrested her hands were not on him first. This has been up for a day, you have already posted my first request to you with total disregard. You have yet to reach out to us to hear our side of the story. This is completely disrespectful and unprofessional journalism (if you call ashvegas that news/blog ) I now understand home ashvegas works. Throw something up whether it is correct or not, researched or not. With total disregard to victims to see the reaction you get. Shame on you.

  5. FDR says:

    They need to shut it down and move it up Merrimon somewhere. Just far enough so that the bums won’t walk there.

    • AVL LVR says:

      I agree. They should shut down Pack. I’ve been to hundreds of libraries and this is one of the worst for its size. Asheville has beautiful historical buildings, so I was surprised by this monstrosity (more like a factory floor).

      Buncombe County needs to get its act together with its parks too. They are old and unkempt. If the Duke coal plant ever does come down, I would triple the size of Lake Julian park. Add greenways all around the lake, picnic areas, green space for Frisbee , several paved parking areas, tennis courts, and maybe even a campground.

      • JT says:

        I like the way that you capitalized “Frisbee”. Like when God is referred to as “Him”.

        • AVL LVR says:

          I correctly capitalized Frisbee® (owned by Mattel Toy Manufacturers). It is generically not capitalized as a flying disc. Lake Julian NT DGC http://www.dgcoursereview.com/course.php?id=6092

          Buncombe County needs to connect the two parks, add greenways around the lake, a larger beach area for swimming, and maybe a fishing deck & camping.

          • AVL LVR says:

            The lake has a disc golf course, a good fishing deck and boating which is a good start. The experience could be enhanced with more amenities if the Duke Coal plant comes down (not saying I’m for or against it).

          • JT says:

            Whoa! Disc golf at Lake Julian?! I had no idea, thanks for sharing. I’m am definitely going to hit that up.

    • Big Al says:

      Here is a better idea..move the homeless shelter away from downtown. Pritchard Park is already a shameful squatting camp most days, and the library is just a block away. Why should the WE THE PUBLIC have to surrender our park and library to drunken, hostile vagrants?

      • roo says:

        It may not conform to your prejudices, but it’s an actual fact that no one involved in this incident was homeless or a vagrant.

    • WHY says:

      The library might not be the best around but i mean come on, a downtown without a public library is just ridiculous. Also, adding another thing on Merrimon that you pretty much have to drive to is an absurd notion. If they improve the streets with bike lanes and better sidewalks i would have less of a problem with that part of town.

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