Victim speaks as police investigate assault at anarchist event in Asheville (2024)

By Amanda Shaw and Kennedi Harris

Published: Jul. 1, 2024 at 1:44 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 3, 2024 at 4:02 PM EDT

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (FOX Carolina) - The Asheville Police Department said three people were attacked by a large crowd at an anarchist event on Saturday.

Officers said between 80 and 100 people attended the Another Carolina Anarchist Bookfair (ACAB) seminar at the West Asheville Library called “Strategic Lessons from the Palestinian Resistance.”

Monica Buckley said she and two other Jewish community activists attended the event to learn about what was being taught in the community.

Buckley said they were asked to leave, but she began live-streaming the event on Instagram.

“That’s when I decided I should put it on live stream because I started feeling like there was a little bit too much attention on us,” Buckley said.

In the video, the speaker at the event can be heard asking the crowd what should be down about Buckley and her fellow activists, one of whom is a senior citizen.

That’s when police said an attendee forcefully took Buckley’s cell phone. Then, police said a large crowd assaulted the victims. All three were evaluated by EMS and suffered minor injuries. Buckley said those injuries include bruising and head contusions.

“I was getting hit in the head, stepped on,” Buckley said. “They were stomping on my ankles, they were kicking me, trying to pull me somewhere.”

One person, 35-year-old Taylor Danielle Zarkin, was arrested and charged with two counts of “resisting, delay and obstruct.”

On Wednesday, Asheville police shared pictures of persons of interest in the assault and asked anyone with information about the individual to come forward.

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The investigation into the incident is ongoing. Anyone with information about offenders involved is asked to contact APD at (828) 252-1110.

“I’m going to try to make sure these people have accountability for what they did to us and for what they did to my friend,” Buckley said. “Especially to my friend, Bob, who is 80 years old”

On Wednesday, July 3, police released the following statement:

“We at the APD remain steadfast in our commitment to reducing all acts of violence in our community, particularly those targeting vulnerable groups like our Jewish Community. Our detectives are actively investigating this incident to ensure those responsible are held accountable for their actions.

We are working alongside the District Attorney’s Office and we appreciate the information that members of our community have provided thus far to help identify the offenders.”

The West Asheville Library is working with Asheville police on the investigation. A spokesperson for the county issued the following statement on the incident:

“On June 29, an outside group reserved a meeting room at West Asheville Branch Library under the name Another Carolina Bookfair for the purpose of an unspecified workshop. This was not a County sponsored event.

During the event above, the staff Librarian, who was not in the meeting room was alerted to a disturbance and called 911. Law enforcement and emergency services responded. This event is now under an active Asheville Police Department investigation. One arrest has been made. We are aware the arrest report states the person’s employer is Asheville Public Library System. To clarify, this person is not and has never been a Buncombe County employee. Buncombe County Public Libraries makes Library meeting rooms available to groups, organizations, and businesses as part of the Library’s mission to support the educational, cultural, and civic activities of the community. Our meeting room policies are not intended to control the content of programs or events held in the meeting rooms, but to set basic terms and conditions for the use of the facilities. The facilities are available on an equitable basis, regardless of the beliefs, or affiliations of individuals or groups requesting their use. Persons attending programs and meetings are subject to all provisions of the Library’s Rules of Conduct, and use of the meeting rooms does not constitute an endorsem*nt of the program or organization by the Library or Buncombe County.

Buncombe County Public Libraries do not condone violence or hate crimes in any way, and leadership is actively working with Asheville Police Department.”

The mayor of Asheville also released a statement regarding the assaults:

“The members of the Asheville community deserve the right to enter any community spaces with a feeling of security. We will not tolerate violence, either against or carried out in our community. Asheville is a city that has thrived and honored the diversity of all its residents. We will continue to do so and not be cowed by individuals resorting to violence.”

Police are also offering a reward for information leading to the arrest of whoever is behind recent incidents of vandalism where the anarchist symbol was spray-painted on vehicles.

Copyright 2024 WHNS. All rights reserved.

Victim speaks as police investigate assault at anarchist event in Asheville (2024)
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