Local News

Durham NAACP President Guilty Of Second-Degree Trespassing

Posted November 26, 2002

— A judge found the president of the Durham chapter of the NAACP guilty of second-degree trespassing Tuesday, stemming from an incident at a school board meeting in August.

Curtis Gatewood was arrested Aug. 8 following a protest at a Durham school board meeting. Protesters were upset after the school board re-elected Chairwoman Kathryn Meyers.

District Court Judge Ann McKown ruled that Gatewood revoked his First Amendment rights by being disruptive. However, Valarie Perkins, Gatewood's attorney, disagreed.

"We are certainly outraged by the judge's decision -- the fact that her decision was not consistent with the law in the state of North Carolina and certainly was not consistent with the law of the United States concerning the First Amendment," she said.

"This was an injustice based on the fact that we know of several instances in that particular meeting where people have either chanted, people have either spoke beyond the scope of the comment period and they didn't go to jail," Gatewood said.

Gatewood must pay a $50 fine plus additional court fees. However, he does not have to serve any jail time. Gatewood's attorneys plan to appeal.

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