Renowned civil rights attorney speaks out about Graham arrests
Attorney Ben Crump speaks in front of the State Capitol about a pepper spray incident during an Oct. 31 march to the polls in Graham led by Rev. Greg Drumwright and Justice for the Next Generation. Twelve millennial activists, "The Graham 12," and Drumwright were arrested, some were charged with felonies, and they were forbidden from re-entering Alamance County.
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Yeah. Okay. Yeah. You're not gonna get that you're doing I haven't quit more with the place to do it, you know? You know that? Yeah. Were they related issue? Yeah. How? Yeah, The one. Uh huh. Right. And it's a really work back in the world. Still that Yeah, mhm with the Yeah, that's great, right? Is it North America, Brother Baltimore police. I think basketball Well, you know, walking. Okay. I was on there. Yeah. All right. Okay. Back in the area. Yeah. E gotta watch. Well, hello. Yeah. Yeah. This is true. Yeah. Yeah. Mr What do you do? Okay. Yeah. I just don't wanna be in your You can find your your body through your start. Oh, okay. Oh, okay. Maybe you could just say excuse me. E get okay, now, I'm just getting I'm just getting I'm just getting I just wanna make sure, Okay. So I'm in your way right now. I'm just trying to make sure i e you're even find right there once we get stuff. You sure? Okay. Okay. I am really That's nice, sailor. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, right. Thank you. The living I told Okay, e I was looking at I'm not a baby, you know that. This is scary. Yeah. Have you got it? Speaking? Yeah. On the banks. The decision. You believe it? No problem. Yeah. Okay. Yeah. Yes. Not that that's any use. Yeah, I was just talking here. Yeah. Yes. What did you do? Whatever. You know what they were gonna help has been through the area so dangerous. Oh, yeah. Well, I wanted Oh, it's coming. Everything will be good. Yeah, right. No, I can't. I do something my mother see again? Yes, but get ready. Mhm e. All right. All right. E. Good morning. Thank you all for meeting us here this morning. Those of you off with drove great distance. Grateful to have a small victory in Elements County on yesterday that that motion was denied to ban our movement from Elements County. I stopped in Elements County this morning on the way to rally with Attorney Crump. Organizer's from the Elements Alliance for Justice. Yeah, members of the Gram 12 are here in Raleigh with us this morning. Members from the organizing community throughout North Carolina. College students from various universities and institutions and Organizer's here in Raleigh. Right now, you're gonna hear from Mr Kerwin Pittman, who is a member of the governor's Task force on racial equity who's gonna lift up some of the things that were advocating for with the Raleigh organizing community. I'll give a comment, and then we'll hear from the black America Attorney General himself certainly being called. Yes. Who? The reason? Good evening. I'm so excuse me. Good morning. That's right. I'm so thankful to be here today in support and stand in solidarity with my brother. Reverend Drum, right attorney being Crump community members across the board, the state of North Carolina. The issues that you seem to take place in ground by no means is just isolated to ground. I'm just thankful that spotlight was Shine Ingraham on those days so individuals can see what happened in small pockets in communities across North Carolina on a daily basis. Yet cameras is not there to capture the injustices that our people are facing on a daily basis. Yeah, so what we hear today, it's to bring awareness to the injustices that is going on not only in ground but the state of North Carolina and the United States as well. So if you are watching this, no longer should you sit on your couch is and the idol stand by and be silent. You must speak up and speak out against racism, white supremacy at every turn, every instance if you see it at because your silence means acceptance, that means you accept the brutality that's plaguing are people right now, particularly by the criminal justice system. That's right. So we need those in position of power to respond as quick as you responded to this coronavirus pandemic. Because racism is a pandemic that's been begging people for a long time on and no longer will we be silent on standby and stand down and stand back way will continue to stand up. As you see, the fight has now came to the capital city is We've been fighting in the capital city for a long time as well. But we stand in Solidarity way stand in solidarity with all small pockets across North Carolina and everybody fighting in their small pockets and isolated incidents. We're here for you way will not be silent. Do not be scared. Speak. Oh, speak out. Use your voice. Stand up. So for those in position of power, we need you to respond. The criminal justice reform A squeak as you responded to the coronavirus penned in. And if you don't respond, then you're on the wrong side of history. So now I ask you for those who are in position of power what side of history do you want to be? Oh, what side of history do you want to be your question. What do your legacy? No, to reflect for spraying innocent bystanders for trying to register people to vote. Is this what you want to reflect and upholding these bad actors in his racist system? Is that what you want to do? Or do you wanna be the change that we're gonna see? Because we're not gonna stop until we see we're not gonna stop. Do not remain silent. Thank you. Whoa! Yes! Oh, yeah, Yeah. We're here in the state capital to meet with lawmakers, legislators who are ready and willing to listen to the voter suppression. That happened. Two members of our organizations and this delegation, members of the public voters in Elements County who were held back from a march that was supposed to end at the voting booth but ended at the jail cell. Members of the Ground 12 here with us today know exactly what I'm talking about. Our in boxes are filled up with people who are telling us, Reverend Drum right elements Alliance for Justice. We were there with you. I recall specifically encountering a young man who was being released from jail just minutes before me. I didn't think that he knew who I waas, but I inquired his name and he spoke to me and he told me who he waas And I said, Sir, are you going to vote now? This is around 6 30 at night. Polls had already closed for registration last day to register to vote in North Carolina, and he looked at me and he said, Reverend Drum, right, I was going toe vote with you today. Well, that young man's words pierced my heart. E thought about it over and over again. I thought about Brother Avery, who was going to register to vote that day but ended up attorney Crump being locked up a long before the third Pepper Spray incident and ground that day. Brother Sean, Brother Samuel Pierre, students at North Carolina A and T State University, uh, were locked up with us. Yeah, way. Listen to the ground Police Department and Elements County sheriff's comment in a press conference and actually make this statement. We do not believe that Reverend Drum Rights March was ever going to lead people to the post after over 10,000 leaflets off information was distributed across Elements County Ahead of that March that details are March route was gonna end at the Elm Street voting booth. Thes are the comments that our law enforcement entities have gone on record to say. That's right, Governor Roy Cooper. Attorney General Josh Stein. You made immediate comments after those events on October 31st way are still waiting to know why you will not take a meeting with us. Way voted for you. We heard your comments across social media, but we have not engaged your faces way have not had the pleasure of your ear. We're here today because this is what voter suppression 2020 looks like we're here today because I and members of the Gram 12 is what your new felon faces look like. Mhm. After circumventing a life that could have led me, a black man growing up in Allah Dance County could have led me into drugs. Could have led me into games. Could have led me onto the streets After doing everything that my parents raised me to do by the book getting an education, becoming a member of my community, helping to be a full young people into positive directions, establishing a ministry called The Citadel 18 years ago in Guilford County, traveling all over the world with messages of love and inspiration. I am the new face of a felon in Alamance County way were trying toe lead people to the polls. Which is why three days later way got back out in those streets on lead Nearly 2000 people to the polls in Alamance County. And we haven't stopped. No, that was which is why, after people were locked up bloody and bruised by police brutality at the Elements kind of Commissioners meeting just two weeks ago, which is why we got back out in those streets on November 29th. Governor, this is happening in your state. This is happening to your constituents. Attorney General John Stein. There are people that are traumatized and injured from those events that have happened within the last 30 days. Since the polls have closed, you won your election. Now you need to listen to the people Way, Way are grateful. Two former state representative Marsha Marais. Yeah, and the members of the Legislative Assembly to Senator Dan Blue to Senator Erica Smith. I'm grateful for my legislators out of Guilford County that are here. Thio here us today. I want you all to know this. A zai bring forward attorney Ben Crump. I'm out on bond, but I'm still not free. Sam, Pierre were out on bond. Sean were out on bond. Uh huh. But we're still not free way. Want the district attorney and ground to drop all charges way. Want our state lawmakers and members of the executive and judicial branches Thio here Our concerns I bring you now thing the black America Attorney General fighting for justice from Post Thio. This is who we have in this moment. Help us bring attention to the cases such as Rianna Taylor. Cases such as Ahmad Aubrey. Cases such as George Floyd standing with the communities across a North Carolina here in Raleigh with us today Their in ground with us yesterday and he'll be back if need be. Attorney Benjamin Glory. Oh, yeah, yeah, sure. Free your gram 12 Free to gram 12, Freedom Gram 12 as Reverend Drum. Right. Said even though they're no longer in jail, even though there are no longer under the threat of being banished from coming Thio Elements County And that is because we got a victory yesterday way the alley jail, but they're still not free because they're not free from these trumped up charges on I. I do mean trumped up charges on. It's so fascinating when you think about it that this is the state, my home state. Mr Pittman, Reverend Drug right? Just a few years ago, in 2016, the Supreme Court said that the state Legislature was Jerry Mandarin. The district's were surgical precision, uh, effort to suppress the vote on when I got the call from Reverend Drum. Right in those 12 young people that have been arrested, it immediately came into my mind that efforts a voter suppression continue in this Tar Heel state on. When I was getting on the plane early yesterday morning, the pilot literally asked me, Where you going to it? Where do you want to? North Carolina? Four. And I told him, I am going to Graham, North Carolina, to show America what voter suppression looks like in 2020 because these young people were only trying toe help. People registered a vote e mean you think about when people from our community attempt thio exercise their First Amendment rights. They're greeted differently from law enforcement there. Others who are trying thio exercise their First Amendment freedoms. And I know you all know about what happened in Michigan when you have these white nationalists come to the state House with assault weapons. They were not pepper spray. Nobody tear gas. Damn on. Nobody were arrested for balance. But yet when young, black people, uh, with weapons of intellect a e we're gonna register people from my community there. Look that a threat e mean there is a threat to them that you all might get an opportunity. Exercise your most basic constitutional rights. Eso It is clear that there are two justice systems in America, one for black America and one for White America Way have tohave equal justice for the United States of America. And that's why we continue to say that we have the free the gram 12 on and this matter is bigger than just elements County. That's why we're here, a state capital of North Carolina meeting with the state legislative leaders because they have to understand that if you're able to suppress, just won a marginalized person of color and elements county then that sets a precedent but marginalized and suppress the voice of any of us. It ugo one of us thing. You could do it, all of us. We cannot allow that presidents to take place on. That's why when I called on people all across the country telling them what happened in Graham, North Carolina, when I called and texted with Stacey Abrams in Georgia, when I called and texted wealth, uh, representative James Clyburn of the United States Congress when I called and texted with our vice president elect, Kamala Harris, when I talked with Reverend Al Sharpton, they all said clearly tell those young people in North Carolina that they're not alone way stand with way, delivering on the Constitution of provinces of liberty and justice for all because this is a constitutional issue. This'd voter suppression and think about it. Think about it. In 1965 in Selma, Alabama, they came up with ways to criminalize black people who were simply trying to register people to vote and stand on. They came up with all manners of intellectual justification of discrimination. They talked about Reverend Drum, right? They literally talked about where they were black in the public roadways on. That's why they were arrested and now they come to Graham, North Carolina. And they say that the young people were violating sound ordinances. Can you imagine that they were attempting Thio use on allegations of violation of sound ordinance Thio try to suppress the voices of these young people, but it won't work. The more you try to strip press there e on. That's really what it's about. When you think about what Reverend Drum right and these young people are trying to do, they're trying to ensure justice for the next generation on It is so ironic, Mr. Pittman. It is so ironic that when these young people came Thio, Brunswick, Georgia, to stand for justice For Ahmad Aubrey, a young black man who was lynched Jagan while black. They didn't get arrested in Georgia when they came to Louisville, Kentucky. Thio stand for justice For Briana Taylor, who had been executed in the sanctity of her own home by the Louisville Metropolitan Police Department, who were exercising a dangerous, unnecessary and unconstitutional no not warrant way Hours in the morning on mutilated her body was six bullets while she was practically in her underwear. Reverend Drum, right, And they didn't get arrested in Kentucky on then when they came to Minneapolis, Minnesota, standing for justice after George Florida had been tortured to death with Neil his neck for eight minutes in 46 seconds. They did not get arrested in Minneapolis, Minnesota. But you know, when they got arrested that when they came home back to North Carolina? Yeah, Elements, County, Graham, North Carolina that's when they treated them like criminals. That's what they said they were failing. That's what they said. They were gonna be prohibited. M banished from coming to county property because they said their voices were getting too loud. Well, their voices get allowed at the state Capitol today. Way on. If you don't free to gram 12, it would be at the national capital in Washington, D. C. Tomorrow. So you have been warned. North Carolina free to gram 12 or else the crowds will get larger, more attention will be bought on. There will be outside agitators allegedly because that's what they call us Reverend from right come inter people North Carolina on a regular basis because we do understand the lessons of what Dr King taught us that way until gram 12 of free. None of us are free way. That was Thanks. So we're going to go and talk with these leaders. And we believe that House leaders in the state of North Carolina should be responsive to these young people because these young people, when you needed them to stand up for democracy, come out and risk their health in their life in the midst of a pandemic. They did so on. Now they're turning to you when they need you to say, Are you standing with us? And they're taking a camp? A Who's with them today? That's right, because that is going to determine whether they're going to stand with them in 2022 record. Be clear that the record be clear. This'd justice for the next generation. Thank you. 3 g 12, 12, 12, 12. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you so much. And I want to say before Attorney Crump leaves today. You are welcome in North Carolina. You are welcome home. Who protects us? There are enough people here standing with black lives mattering. There is enough people of color from all sides of North Carolina. There's enough of our white allies from all sides of sides of North Carolina. There are decent people that are standing with us in this fight for criminal justice reform. And now, police reform in Alamance County, there are enough good cops, great cops here that are concerned about protecting not just some people, but all people on. I just wanna let you know, Attorney Crump, that those white nationalists with guns and weapons didn't just Onley get their way in Michigan. They got their way in Graham, North Carolina. A record never got seen as a threat. Streets were filled with people and their weapons on their neo Nazi on their Confederate size in Graham, North Carolina. Google it. It's all right there for you to see. And none of them were sought to be banned. None of them have any felony charges or misdemeanor charges near their names. So apparently they're welcoming elements County. Which is why Elements county into the organizing community all across North Carolina and the Southeast. We will soon be announcing our next movement. Get ready Justice for the next generation. Eyes moving on Raleigh, North Carolina. Get ready. We will soon be announcing our next movement. Get ready because we're coming strong, and we're going to stand tall. We're out on bond, but we're still not free, Attorney General. That's about right now we're being with legislative leadership. I understand that the Attorney general is trying to schedule being who Attorney general has offered us a opportunity to speak with him being a phone tomorrow. Our concern is that Mr Crump is here today. Way. Aaron Rawley. Sit. Hey, you know what would be finding? What if the next Election day way said it was inconvenient? We'll get with you today way, But that's enough on that. We're gonna meet with people who think this is a important issue today. E uhh way have not received a response from our question waiting today. Um, uh, e I understand that it is, uh, senators and also representative members who make up ah, lot of the criminal justice committees and task force and people who have been Stallworth and champions in the cause of civil rights. Yeah, it's a number of them. Will you commit with us? I guess if you have to give you a comment post meeting like, get in touch with us, press that big bro. Yes. That's impressive. Video from dot com and press and great joy. Thank you. Thank you. Yeah, that's a great question. Uh, when we say freedom Gram 12, what we're saying is to dismiss all these trumped up charges against these young people who were just endeavoring to get into good trouble like John Lewis did Back and self on Bond wouldn't be ashamed for these young people to graduate from North Carolina. A and T were there, uh, bachelor graze, but also be labeled as a convicted felon because they're trying to say that all of us in America should be registered to vote even those in Alamance County. So that's what this is about. Go to suppression, Goto Intimidation 2020. The goal is also for there to be police reform in elements Kallio. Sheriff Terry Johnson needs Thio. Chief Christine Cole needs Thio, and we're definitely concerned about criminal justice reform throughout the state of North Carolina. Thank you so much. We have a pending meeting. Yeah, No way. No, no. You know, it's so it's amazing that there for a black person, our civil rights leaders say that we want to make sure we have our constitutional rights enforce or else we're going to go to the highest court in the land or else we're gonna have mass demonstrations that seem to something negative. But other people who then melts a election that was fairly executed. They are. Nobody says, Oh, what does this mean is get something bad. What these young people continue to say over and over again, is all we want to do is make sure that when you say liberty and justice for all that means black no way will go to the Justice Department. That is way weapons are like Reverend Drum. Right? Said these assault weapons and these guns that they had a Confederate observance event in Elements County. Our weapons are that of intellect and diplomacy on strategy. That's what we're fighting. Thank you all so much. We have to press on into that 11 o'clock meeting. Thank you so much for being Thank you. Thank you. You know, e, I do, um, watch. Good night. Good morning. How you doing? Any girl? What is the card? We're was getting like a better plan right now. Waiting to hypertension today. You can go. Just go. Yeah, her