'Moral Monday' protesters cited, released for sit-in at McCrory's office

Posted June 2, 2014
Updated June 3, 2014

— About 30 “Moral Monday” protesters slowly made their way inside the Capitol building Monday afternoon, singing a rendition of “We Shall Not Be Moved,” to deliver a letter asking Gov. Pat McCrory and legislative leaders to repeal a number of “harmful policies.”

And most of them didn’t leave. At least not right away.

“We cannot, in good faith, leave this space until Governor McCrory repeals these laws,” one protester said.

At 5:07 p.m., a State Capitol Police officer told the group to leave after announcing that the building was closed. About two hours later, the 11 protesters who remained were taken into custody, cited for trespassing and released.

As they left, dozens attending the Moral Monday rally outside the legislative building walked to the Capitol and embraced them with chants and songs.

"I stand here today for those who could not be here to say Governor McCrory, stop it," said Serena Sebring, a N.C. State University sociology professor who was among those cited.

Prior to their arrests, the group sat and stood in the building’s rotunda, reading statements asking McCrory to veto and repeal legislation related to fracking, coal ash and the denial of Medicaid funds. One held “coal ash cupcakes” in a plastic container. Others held signs that read “Repent, Repeal, Restore.”

Lawmakers last week approved a fast-tracked bill allowing for fracking in North Carolina, a measure McCrory said he supports. In March, McCrory signed a bill prohibiting Medicaid expansion or state involvement in health exchanges. McCrory has also been criticized for not taking tougher action regarding a February spill at a Duke Energy power plant that sent an estimated 39,000 tons of coal ash into the Dan River.

Monday’s sit-in comes one week after 14 people were arrested after a nearly 11-hour sit-in at House Speaker Thom Tillis’ office last Tuesday. Dubbed the “Tillis 15,” the group refused multiple requests by police to leave, and all but one were arrested at about 1:45 a.m. Wednesday. Each was charged with second-degree trespassing and violation of building rules.

The letters, separately addressed to McCory, Tillis and Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger, asked legislative leaders to repeal a number of “extremist policies,” including the state’s denial of federal Medicaid funds, cutting unemployment benefits, the approval of fracking and the repeal of the Racial Justice Act. 

Protesters attempted to deliver letters to Tillis' and Berger's offices but the legislative building was closed.

Tillis and Speaker Pro Tempore Paul Stam could not be reached for comment.

“We recognize that reversing these actions will not solve every problem that our state faces,” the letter to McCrory said. “We ask that you reverse course because your actions have made challenging situations even more painful for so many. We call on you today to reverse course by repenting, repealing and restoring our state to higher ground by eliminating the laws and policies pushed by this N.C. Legislature, led by Speaker Tillis and Senate Leader Berger and signed by you.”

Monday's sit-in followed a press conference where state NAACP President William Barber promised more action regarding Moral Monday efforts. He described legislative action related to fracking, coal ash and Medicaid as "matters of life and death."

“There will be increased activity because we are not going anywhere,” he said. “If they don’t change, we hope they will, but we will make sure that everyone in the state and this country knows the extremism they’re engaged in. When they go to the polls in their communities, they will be totally informed of the wrong direction we must correct.


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  • Dana McCall Jun 3, 2014
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    STOP COVERING THIS. WHO CARES? Anyone who is doing more than just an occasional protest either has another agenda or a productivity problem. I'm sick of WRAL giving these counterproductive people a voice.

  • Derek Fisher Jun 3, 2014
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    How is this exercising their rights? They are trespassing on government property after 5:00.

  • 68_dodge_polara Jun 3, 2014

    “We cannot, in good faith, leave this space until Governor McCrory repeals these laws,” one protester said.

    So this person just threw Democracy out the window and appointed him or herself king?

  • Jun 3, 2014

    Isn't it wonderful? A simple little story about people exercising their rights gets our right wing friends here so up in arms. Then I imagine our legislature simply mentioning the words "gun control". How many would be outside threatening the overthrow of the gubmint do you think? But since guns are so much more important than the people, you won't hear a word from them now. But please, someone record all of their comments for posterity once these carpet bagging right wingers in power now are run off. THey'll still swear they never wrote those words when it's their turn to protest a little. THEN it will be ENTIRELY different.

  • chris42m Jun 3, 2014

    If you want to discuss Gerrymandering, perhaps you should start with the 12th Congressional district formed by the Democrats in 1992 that kept Mel Watts employed for 21 years. It is sited as the poster child for Gerrymandering. They you could follow it with the 13th Congressional District, also created by the Democrats, that kept Brad Miller on the public payroll for 10 years.

  • icdmbpppl Jun 3, 2014

    One more thing Peace2U--those young men protesting the Vietnam War were afraid to fight for this country. I call them cowards--nothing to be admired.

  • Tom Boswell Jun 3, 2014
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    I am against voter suppression. I am sick of suppression. All of this suppression happened to be in less than 24 hours. Going on vacation I had to go to the bank to cash a check and you will never believe what happen, bank suppression they asked for an ID to cash MY check. I left there to go to the pharmacy to get a prescription and guess again, you got it Pharmacy suppression. From there I went to UPS to pick up a missed package I needed for my trip and OMG it happened again parcel pickup suppression. They had the audacity to ask for my ID. Heading to the airport feeling abused you will never have guessed what came next, TSA suppression. Did it stop there oh no. Getting to my destination, I needed to rent a car an yep Avis suppression. Eight hour, five suppression"s,

  • 68_dodge_polara Jun 3, 2014

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    Our family member who served in Vietnam was told when he got to the states and before flying a commercial jet the rest of the way home to change out of his uniform and in to civilian cloths as to not be harrassed. It was a sad and disturbing how vet returning from war were treated at that time.

  • Brian Tucker Jun 3, 2014
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    “We cannot, in good faith, leave this space until Governor McCrory repeals these laws,” one protester said.
    So, why is it only a handful are requesting these laws be changed ? What happened to the rest of the people of this state ? Must be they're ok with it and this handful has nothing better to do with there time, except get arrested for breaking the rules. These people are all followers of Barber, and what does that say ?

  • icdmbpppl Jun 3, 2014

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    I remember Vietnam War protesters, and they were a bunch of radical anti-american ignorant teenagers, influenced by their liberal anti-americancollege professors. Now many of the are in charge of our higher education systems, and many are in positions in Washington. Nothing about them has changed--they're just radical anti-american ignorant old people. They are the ones who spat on Vietnam vets.