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NAACP chief, others found guilty in 'Moral Monday' protest

Posted December 4, 2013

— A Wake County judge on Wednesday found a group of people arrested in April during the first of what became months of weekly protests at the Legislative Building guilty of trespassing and violating building rules.

District Judge Joy Hamilton said that, although she finds some of the rules governing public access to the Legislative Building to be "vague, overbroad and confusing," state NAACP President Rev. William Barber and 11 others acted in concert to disrupt lawmakers.

Earlier Wednesday, Hamilton said there was insufficient evidence that the 12 protesters posed a threat, so she tossed out the charge of failure to disperse against all of them.

"We may be convicted for our convictions, but our convictions stand," Barber said after the trial. "So, what are we going to do? We're going to go back and continue to mobilize."

All 12 were fined $100, but Hamilton said she wouldn't bar them from returning to the Legislative Building. The convictions are being appealed.

Authorities maintain the protesters broke the rules by blocking a door to the Senate, holding up signs and chanting and singing.

"I believe all these things certainly add up to a disturbance under the building rules," Wake County Assistant District Attorney Mary Elizabeth Wilson said.

The protesters denied they disrupted the General Assembly, arguing that they were simply exercising their constitutional right to free speech.

NAACP President Rev. William Barber NAACP president, others convicted for 'Moral Monday' protest

"His order to leave the premises," defense attorney Scott Holmes said, referring to North Carolina General Assembly Police Chief Jeff Weaver, "was unconstitutional because these folks were engaged in political speech."

None of the protesters testified in their own defense during the three-day trial – the first day of testimony was held in October.

The group was the first of more than 900 people arrested during the so-called "Moral Monday" protests against the legislative agenda of the Republican-controlled General Assembly during the summer.

The protesters said lawmakers were hurting the poor, the unemployed, students and other groups through their actions.

A handful of protesters have been convicted in the case and are appealing. A few others were acquitted. Charges against dozens of protesters were dropped after they agreed to perform community service under a deal offered by Wake County prosecutors to clear cases from the clogged court dockets.

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  • notexactly Dec 9, 10:12 a.m.

    Actually the rich are rich because they work for it and they take the risk's involved to get rich. Many people take that risk and lose everything. You can do the same if you care to instead of complaining and blaming them for your fear and failures. Oh I am not rich, but have owned my own business, twice. So yes I did take risk's and di quite well one time and not so good the first time. Anyone can do it. Stop crying.

  • rdcress Dec 9, 8:25 a.m.

    The situational relativism and ethics expressed in many comments is interesting. I guess it's no wonder why people interpret the application of the law or should I say the lack of application when it benefits their agenda. 1st Amendment rights do not allow the violation of other laws. These moral monday protesters certainly have every right to engage in all these activities outside the chamber but when they engage in disruptive activities that prohibit others from performing the jobs for which they are paid or when it prohibits others from exercising their own rights, it's a crime. Our rights do not exist exclusive of others' rights. We can't exercise our rights when it violates the rights of others. Sadly the leftist/socialist/progressives simply don't understand that concept and want to throw their little temper tantrums whenever and where ever they choose. They should pay court costs too.

  • humm61 Dec 7, 4:42 a.m.

    Is anyone surprised by yet another gross miscarriage of justice in this state. We are on a hot streak to being the all-time laughing stock of the rest of the nation - and much of the civilized world. Congratulations, North Carolina.

  • notexactly Dec 6, 3:22 p.m.

    um dems are. they want as many black, white, or any color person on the government dime for their votes. You are a slave to them for the handouts, even if you need it or not. And affirmative action is a racists program against white men! I personally, years ago did not get a job because of it. A black person less experienced than myself got the job. How do I know, I was very close to the person that was going to hire me. That person said I had the job until the upper brass came down and said we have to hire a black person or a minority. That is racism all day long friends. Believe it or not, it happens more than you care to admit.

  • seapeeay Dec 6, 11:58 a.m.

    Just a what if:

    It's a presidential speech to the US Senate. The president is black.

    The US Senate is majority democrat.

    The crowd uses their right to free speech and chants and sings and waves signs to the point that senators cannot hear the president's speech and he is speaking on something important, just say Obamacare. OR DO THEY USE THEIR RIGHT TO FREE SPEECH AT ALL.

    Would the secret service and capital police allow these protestors to continue to protest to the point that the president cannot be heard and the senate cannot hear what they need to decide on their vote?

    I don't think there is any way they would be allowed to protest the way they have in ANY government session.

    How much are court costs now anyways? High $200's? If convicted again on appeal, they should charged the cost of the trial.

  • scvmcdoc Dec 6, 11:00 a.m.

    goldenosprey, I am saying that having a college fund open to only people of a certain race or a pageant open to only one race is racism at it's finest and discriminatory as all get out. Your TV examples do not begin to hold water because there are people of all races on these channels and they do not proclaim themselves to one particular race. Furthermore your first example, the Golf Channel is a joke considering the most watched golfer in the world is a black man (lol). As for caucuses no caucus REP or DEM is based on race other than the Black Caucus, that pretty much is the text book example of racism. Lastly, what has Barber and the NAACP done to advance their race in recent times. Further, if I went out tomorrow and started a group under the name NAAWP don't tell me one minute that I and anyone who joined would immediately be labeled a racist.

    A world without racism means the same rules and standards for everyone.

  • goldenosprey Dec 6, 10:20 a.m.

    scvmcdoc, In a place where the predominate population, hegemony, economic power and culture are white, there should be no need for even whiter versions of pageants, tv channels, etc. The black versions are reactions to exclusions which were historically quite real.

    Besides, we have a lot of the things mentioned in your post.

    We don't have WHite television but we have the Golf Channel, SciFi, etc.Pretty much any congressional caucus that is predominantly republican is "white." As for an "NAAWP", do you not think white folks are sufficiently advanced?

  • RamsesIV Dec 6, 8:32 a.m.

    We have some crooked things going on in this State. Rev. Barber is all about helping those who cannot help themselves. I doubt he disrupted anything. Look at what is going on in our state. NC has one of the highest percentage rates of unemployment yet people from out of our state are getting hired and paid BIG BUCKS to move here while more qualified North Carolinians can do their job better. I defend Rev. Barber. All these ugly comments prove WE have not changed. There is still cruel and unjust racism...and talk about hypocrites? I mean, come on, look at North Carolina's medicaid and unemployment situation. There are many SELFISH people that could care less about helping those less fortunate. All they care about is putting money in their own pockets. Selfishness is a sin and Christ sees it. SHAME ON YOU!

    SisterChristian

    Exactly which "less fortunate" is the Rev. helping? He missed no meals in his prime time t.v. arrests. It was a stunt to bolster his own pockets. Please give an e

  • delta29alpha Dec 6, 7:40 a.m.

    That's good.

  • SisterChristian Dec 5, 8:08 p.m.

    GOOD JOB BY REV. BARBER FOR CONTINUING TO STAND HIS GROUND. WITH THE WAY THE NC JOB RATE IS GOING THERE WILL BE MORE AND MORE PEOPLE FOLLOWING REV. BARBER. HE CARES ABOUT THE LESS FORTUNATE AND OUR GOVERNOR DOES NOT. HE PROTESTS RIGHTS FOR THE MIDDLE CLASS AND THE POOR. THE LEGISLATOR SUPPORTS THE RICH ONLY. THE RICH ARE RICH BECAUSE THEY ARE SELFISH.

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