Local News

Fayetteville gets new city manager amid consent search controversy

Posted March 27, 2012 8:03 a.m. EDT

— The Fayetteville City Council accepted the city manger's resignation Monday after what sources call a rift over police searches during traffic stops.

Assistant City Manager Kristoff Bauer will take over April 1 as interim city manager. The council hired Florida search firm Colin Baenziger & Associates to help fill the position permanently.

Sources within City Hall said that a majority of the city council wanted Iman, who had been city manager since 2006, to step down after he opposed the council's 8-2 vote in January ordering police to stop searches of vehicles where drivers have given their consent.

Police are allowed to continue the searches under an injunction issued by a judge presiding over a lawsuit filed by police who say that the ban is unlawful and that consent searches are an important law enforcement tool.

Some residents and local groups, including a minority lawyers association and the NAACP, raised concerns last year that the police force might be illegally profiling black drivers.

A consultant's report concluded that blacks were disproportionately subjected to traffic stops and warrantless searches in Fayetteville, but evidence didn't prove that officers were guilty of racial profiling. The report recommends changes, including the creation of a complaint review panel.

Fayetteville police have implemented some changes, including requiring written consent for searches.