#MoralMonday: Transparency Fail by Wake Sheriff, Courts

I’ve been tracking the arrests at Moral Monday for the last month and had no problem accessing the once public records of the arrests, that is up until last week. The Wake County Sheriff site has stopped making the records of these arrests public information.

Transparency!

Huge hat tip to Civitas:

Let’s say you’re an ordinary citizen and you trespass on someone’s property. You come back the next day anyway. You get arrested again, and this time you’re charged with contempt. Wait – what’s that? You’re the Rev. William Barber? Never mind. Please, come inside.

The legal situation surrounding weekly protests at the Legislative Building in Raleigh is growing murkier. If you’ve been following the coverage of “Moral Mondays,” you may have heard the term “civil disobedience” being tossed around. It’s an evocative word: it hearkens to mind the courage of Henry David Thoreau, who willingly consigned himself to prison rather than support a war of aggression in Mexico. It summons images of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., braving the fire hoses and police dogs in Alabama. You might think that the protesters arrested these past weeks at “Moral Mondays” have been braving some of the same hardships.

Nope.

Protesters who are arrested do not spend any time in incarceration. Most of them are cuffed with plastic flexi-cuffs instead of metal handcuffs. They get supportive hugs from General Assembly police officers.  The NAACP provides free lawyers to anyone arrested, and the protesters are home by midnight. Oh, and they get souvenirs, too.

Apparently some people in the criminal justice system think that this is still too onerous a process. Colin Willoughby, the Wake County District Attorney, told Civitas that he suggested to police that it “might be appropriate to issue citations” to demonstrators instead of arresting them. In other words, protesters could get a ticket and a fine instead of being charged with a misdemeanor. And Sam Higdon, the assistant director of the Wake County detention center, told us that it was recently “agreed that the CCBI [City-County Bureau of Identification] would not process them.” This, despite the fact that the CCBI has processed all of the demonstrators previously arrested. According to General Assembly Police Chief Jeff Weaver: “The CCBI director, Sam Pennica, stated his budget would not allow him to have additional personnel on site for any more of these arrests.”

Now that the CCBI is out of the loop, arrest reports are no longer readily accessible to the public through the online Wake County Police to Citizen (P2C) portal. Farewell, transparency.

Read the whole thing.

They’ve been careful not to have repeats in arrests. For the data I collected up until last week, no one had been arrested twice. Now that we can’t see the data, who knows? This works out well for the NAACP who has barely been able to scrape together a few hundred to show up each week. Now they can recycle their arrest volunteers without the prying eyes of the tax paying public who is paying the bill for their arrests and as Civitas points out, little is likely to happen to them.

I am sure WRAL will get right on this miscarriage of justice, transparency failure and abuse of tax payer money.

What should also strike most people is the lack luster attendance, save for the week of June 3rd where Rev. Barber’s pal Gresham of the NY SEIU 1199 showed up with his astroturf. They managed to get around 1,000 estimated attendees that day. Quite a jump from the two to three hundred regulars.  Think about it, the General Assembly is flanked by state buildings filled with thousands of workers and yet none of them seem to be joining in. That’s a pretty strong statement.

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About A.P. Dillon

A.P. Dillon is a freelance journalist and is currently writing at The North State Journal. She resides in the Triangle area of North Carolina. Find her on Twitter: @APDillon_
This entry was posted in Err What?, Moral Monday, POLITICS NC, The Articles, THE LEFT and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to #MoralMonday: Transparency Fail by Wake Sheriff, Courts

  1. Pingback: #MoralMonday: @WRAL In Full CYA Mode For NAACP, Lefties | Lady Liberty 1885

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