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State NAACP president pleads guilty to disrupting Legislature

Posted May 7, 2012

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— The president of the North Carolina chapter of the NAACP pleaded guilty Monday to a disorderly conduct charge, stemming from a protest last year at the General Assembly.

Rev. William Barber and six others were arrested May 24 during a protest that was part of a rally against Republican lawmakers' state budget plan, which the group complained did not adequately address the needs of children, low-income people and other vulnerable groups.

He will not face any jail time, probation or court costs, however, he will have the misdemeanor on his record.

Rev. Curtis Gatewood, also with the group, also pleaded guilty Monday to a disorderly conduct charge. As part of a plea deals, Wake County prosecutors dropped trespassing charges against the five other protesters.

Barber said that he was arrested for asking House Speaker Thom Tillis to meet with him, a request he shouted from the upstairs House gallery while others with him chanted slogans and Bible verses.

Tillis called the disruption "one of the most disrespectful displays" he had witnessed while serving in the state House and said afterward that he was willing to meet with others from the NAACP but not Barber.

Rev. William Barber Barber pleads guilty to disrupting Legislature

Barber said he had made numerous requests prior to the protest but that they were denied.

"We wouldn't be here if the leadership of the General Assembly, i.e., Speaker Tillis, would spend more time meeting with people than having midnight sessions to pass budgets that hurt North Carolina," Barber, surrounded by a group of supporters, said Monday outside the Wake County, after his plea.

Tillis could not be reached for comment Monday.

The case, Barber's supporters added, is another effort to silence protesters' voices.

But Wake County Assistant District Attorney Steven Saad said that was not the case.

"The state has no issue with people wanting to express their opinion and show some sort of discourse against what the government does," Saad said. "What we have to understand is that for the government to work efficiently, those things have to have certain manner restrictions."

In March, Barber also pleaded guilty to a second-degree trespassing charge for bringing a Wake County Board of Education meeting to a standstill in June 2010.

He and others spoke for more than 20 minutes against the school system's student assignment plan and took over school board members' seats during a subsequent recess.

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  • Sherlock May 8, 2012

    If this was any other individual they would be in jail, have a fine, but not in NC courts, the judge and statecan not take pressure from this, the man has a past criminal conviction and the judge belives a misd. charge will stop him, think again, these individuals just wave their thump at the courts of NC a nd the system.

  • EqualRightsAndJustice May 8, 2012

    Rev. Barber is amazing! Thanks for speaking up for the needs and concerns of poor folks as well as standing against hate and discrimination. There will always be name-callers, pouting about not having things just the way they want them, even though they tend to be the most privileged among us. For marginalized communities, civil disobedience is not only an honorable legacy, but a necessity. "We have come this far and we won't turn around; we'll flood the streets with justice, we are freedom bound."

  • sparks May 8, 2012

    Yep, Barber spends most of his time, when he is not eating, bilking others for money and whining about not getting enough milk from the government teat. Us plain old garden variety working stiffs, who pay taxes, support his appetite. Real nice, Reverend.

  • geosol May 7, 2012

    How can a few brave people disrupt this right wing legislature? They are doing a fine job of disrupting their jobs all by themselves. Totally ignoring their charge to help our state's economy, instead they offer a hate-filled and devisive unConstutitional amendment as a smokescreen for their incompetence. While they lay off teachers and claim that "we're broke!!!!", they give big raises to their staff who go out and commit adultery with lobbyists. Yep, hard to disrupt this fun bunch of right wingers any more than they've managed to do themselves.

  • bombayrunner May 7, 2012

    This guy has to have a rap sheet to beat all. What an example. The most common words this guy hears, "Will the defendant please rise".

  • DeathRow-IFeelYourPain-NOT May 7, 2012

    This is NO BIG DEAL. He and his cohorts went to this assembly with the sole purpose of causing this ruckus. And I'm SURE he checked with his attorney to make sure he knew the consequences wouldn't be much at all. This guy is a whiner, who bilks money from churches and corporations, and crys out like a little girl when things don't go his way. When will the black community see him for the spineless coward he is? He NEVER addresses REAL issues in the black community. He only goes after easy targets that will help him bilk more money from fools.

  • LibertarianTechie May 7, 2012

    If he wanted to meet with the Speaker, then he should have made an appointment, versus being rude. I would have hoped there was something more in store for him for disrupting the NCGA. But I guess having money helps.

  • Fun May 7, 2012

    Reverend Barber, Jessie Jackson, Al Sharpen, all hope racism is perpetuated, without it they would not have a job/income. Notice "reverend" is the title they all use, it's about the tax advantage of being a "reverend" I won't meet with the Reverend Barber either.

  • lboogie82 May 7, 2012

    So does SOH Tillis see NAACP President, Barber, remarks more disrespectful that Congressman Wilson of SC remarks to President obama when he called Prez. Obama a liar. seriously?

  • piene2 May 7, 2012

    "Pray for him to come to the one true GOD. Not the god of media, or the god of self-glorification. No matter how repulsive we might find him, he is still our brother, but he seems to have forgotten that we are ALL his as well.
    rockman55"

    There are dozens of gods and they are all the one true god. Just pick the one you like the best.

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