@NCCapitol

@NCCapitol

'Moral Monday' protests have unintended impact

Posted June 4, 2013

— Over the past six weeks, more than 300 people have been arrested in a series of protests at the North Carolina General Assembly – a move that some observers say has had no immediate political impact and has only put a strain on Wake County's already overburdened court system.

The North Carolina chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People has been organizing the so-called "Moral Monday" protests, which have drawn hundreds of people to the state legislative building on West Jones Street to protest what demonstrators say is a Republican-backed regressive agenda on social programs, voting rights, education and tax policy – actions that disproportionately hurt the poor and minorities.

Monday's demonstration resulted in 151 arrests – three times the number of people arrested in previous weeks.

Lawmakers including Sen. Neal Hunt, R-Wake, have taken note but say the mass arrests aren't affecting what's going on inside the legislature.

"They certainly have an opportunity and privilege and voice opinions, but I don't think it'll make a difference though," Hunt said. "It's basically a total difference in philosophy. We think that free enterprise is the best way to go to make sure people have the motivation to do the best they can for themselves. The other side is government needs to do more and more."

Moral Monday protest Legislature protests likely won't have immediate impact

That's not surprising to Steve Greene, associate professor of political science at North Carolina State University. He says protests are usually the only hand people in the political minority can play.

"And they don't usually work, because you're stuck on the outside," Greene said. "You don't have rich lobbyists and everybody in the legislature who's going to listen to you."

Still, Green says the protests can affect public opinion in the next election. That's something state NAACP President Rev. William Barber hopes will happen.

"The people are listening, they're the ones who are going to the polls," he said.

'Moral Monday' Protest 'Moral Monday' protests putting strain on Wake courts

But that's more than a year away, and the arrests have already had significant impacts on law enforcement and the judicial system.

After the first four weeks of protests, General Assembly Police had spent an additional $11,000 in personnel costs, and the Raleigh Police Department, which has been involved in the arrests and transportation of protesters, had spent an extra $16,000 on staff.

The City-County Bureau of Identification, Wake County Detention Center and Wake County Magistrate's Office have also had to bring in additional staff to book protesters.

The cases then end up in Wake County courtrooms, where, Wake County District Attorney Colon Willoughby says the prosecutorial staff and judges have to look at each case individually and see it through the court system.

"If we have to try all of these cases, it will take weeks and weeks of court, of judge time, of prosecutor time," Willoughby said.

He fears the number of people arrested could more than triple by the end of the legislative session this summer.

"By the time the General Assembly recesses, we may have a thousand cases pushed into a system that is already strained," Willoughby said.

For him, he said, it's not about politics but about pragmatism.

"I don't think the people who are doing this understand what they're doing to the system," Willoughby said. "They're not punishing the General Assembly. The General Assembly is not hurting because of this. The people who are getting punished are the citizens of Wake County."

But Barber said he thinks the costs of the arrests to the taxpayers are minor compared to the cost of raising taxes on 80 percent of North Carolinians.

"We're not going to allow 86 (Republican lawmakers) to drive our economy into the ditch," Barber said.

341 Comments

This blogpost is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • josephlawrence43 Jun 7, 1:28 p.m.

    goldenosprey:" I would also venture to guess that you believe in redistribution of wealth, unfettered voting rights-citizenship being irrelevant, unlimited access to government paid abortions in the name of "a womans right" (which up to a point is valid) but not valid enough to commit murder, abolition of responsibility for criminal behavior on the basis of racial grouping, employment of outright lies and exaggerations in the name of "racial equality" (aka Rev. Barbour". And yet you assert that it is those who oppose these ideas who are the haters, racists, bigots, etc.,etc., ad infinitum and ad nauseam. So, please, spare us your exaggerated morality--it don't fly.

  • goldenosprey Jun 7, 12:59 p.m.

    "That is an area reserved exclusively for the leftist/socialist/liberal. the use of such names only illustrates once again, the weakness of the liberal arguments when they can only resort to name calling. pathetic."

    Puh-leez. Even if you substitute "those" for "haters" (which is not inaccurate)you still do not respond with anything more cogent than your pejorative use of "liberal" and "leftist/socialist"

    We believe in personal and community responsibility. We believe wealth and influence do not automatically equal right. We believe in equal protection and treatment under the law. If you really believed the Constitution y'all prattle on about, you would too. In America you have a right to use childish names like "socialist" applied to those who aren't. We don't believe the rich need to be richer by taxing the poor middle class more and depriving them of everything from clean air & water to reproductive rights. We don't believe in gov run by and for the exclusive benefit of 1%.

  • josephlawrence43 Jun 7, 11:49 a.m.

    josephlawrence, you are showing how out of touch the haters on the right are.
    Out of touch the "haters" on the right are? Because we believe in personal responsibility and accountability, because we don't make our living by depending on the government for a handout? Because we don't believe that if we disagree with someone or some group, that give us the right to call them childish names such as "haters". That is an area reserved exclusively for the leftist/socialist/liberal. the use of such names only illustrates once again, the weakness of the liberal arguments when they can only resort to name calling. pathetic.

  • goldenosprey Jun 7, 11:01 a.m.

    josephlawrence, you are showing how out of touch the haters on the right are.

    Having been to the protests, I can tell you many of the protestors are white, have jobs or are retired and semi-retired. The protests get going around 5, and even if they started earlier, not everyone working has bankers hours. They are not lazy. It is a pain to get there and park and stand around. Only a very few get arrested. I never had a problem with employees leaving early or taking time off to protest or work for a cause. Newsflash: not everyone with a job wants to live under this radical regime.

    And if you think the Dems and Dems only used your "piggy bank" for "wasteful spending" (spending on stuff you don't like?) you need to put down the kool-ade. Nobody spent like Reagan and GWB and they spent it on weapons systems that didn't work and the occupation of Iraq.

  • antoniowillia20 Jun 7, 9:54 a.m.

    LOL.

    I never fail to get a good laugh reading some of the comments.

    Lots of assumptions about the people who get arrested by people who seem to forget that some jobs can be done using an IPAD and WIFI from anywhere you happen to be :)

    I should know I helped install the Access Points for the wireless that some of you are now using. You can hold a picket sign in one hand and using your phone you can record a corporate memo to send as an email.

    So just what makes you think these people are lazy and don't have jobs?

    How do you know they don't make more than you which is why they can afford to post bail after they get arrested?

  • josephlawrence43 Jun 6, 5:08 p.m.

    There is a word - hypocrisy - that tea party keyboard warriors on social security should look up. goldenosprey.

    Guess I'm one of those "tea party keyboard warriors on social security". Let us differentiate here: I worked for over 50 years, and paid a portion of my salary into the social security fund--which the Democrats have frequently used as piggy bank for their wasteful spending. The folk in the Moral Monday mess--must not have jobs, which means any income is derived from some form of social assistance--otherwise how could they repeatedly appear on Mondays, get arrested and bailed out. I doubt that any employer would tolerate that kind of behavior from any employee. As much as you would love to compare retired people to the monday crowd, it ain't gonna fly. Gotta give you an E for effort though.

  • goldenosprey Jun 6, 10:44 a.m.

    "
    Our local left wingers are tripping over themselves to get in line to complain about everything. I wish they'd get a job and get off of the internet and do something useful for a change. Tired of paying my good tax money for a bunch of lazy insufferable Democrats to use it on all of their entitlements, including internet access." 68 dodge polara

    There is a word - hypocrisy - that tea party keyboard warriors on social security should look up.

  • 68_dodge_polara Jun 6, 10:24 a.m.

    Our local left wingers are tripping over themselves to get in line to complain about everything. I wish they'd get a job and get off of the internet and do something useful for a change. Tired of paying my good tax money for a bunch of lazy insufferable Democrats to use it on all of their entitlements, including internet access.

  • littleriver69 Jun 6, 9:16 a.m.

    So laughable! Spilled coffee on my shirt and my Rolex!!

  • Paynattention Jun 6, 9:01 a.m.

    There should be a special charge for those who purposefully get themselves arrested more than once, that would include all the costs.

More...