50 Moral Monday Protesters Have Charges Dropped

So, 50 get off out of the over 900 arrested. The Moral Monday folks are all clamoring that all the charges will now ‘collapse’. By Moral Monday folks, I mean mainly the NC NAACP and their brigade of lawyers. No where in any article I’ve found yet on this fleet of lawyers have I found reference to the media ask the question: Who is paying for all of this?

RALEIGH — The North Carolina chapter of the NAACP says Wake County prosecutors have dismissed criminal charges against more than 50 people Wednesday who were arrested last year while protesting at the state legislature.

NAACP President William Barber said prosecutors told defense lawyers representing people arrested at a Moral Monday protest on May 20 are being dropped.

Barber said the cases were dismissed after two protesters tried Tuesday were acquitted by District Court Judge Joy Hamilton.

“It’s exposing the Constitutional irregularities in these prosecutions against people simply exercising their First Amendment rights,” Barber said.

I about choked laughing at that statement by Barber. “Constitutional irregularities”. That’s gonna be an instant classic.

 

FACT: These protesters volunteered to be arrested. They entered the General Assembly carrying signs, chanting, yelling and clapping. The intent was disruption. They were successful. They were told multiple times to disperse. They did not. They were arrested. That’s not a “Constitutional irregularity”, that’s intentionally disturbing the peace. Add all of that to the fact Barber has made a career out of being arrested in North Carolina, for crying out loud — this isn’t civil disobedience it’s a media stunt.

 

“Vague”

They keep using that word. I don’t think that means what they think it means.

News and Observer reminds us of the activist Judge calling the rules ‘vague’:

Judge Nancy Hamilton, a former Wake County district court judge, hired by the Administrative Office of the Courts to help with the hundreds of trials, let the prosecutors and defense teams know in November that she found Legislative Building regulations governing the posting or displaying of signs or placards unconstitutional because of their vagueness.

This week, after one of the demonstrators testified about going into the Legislative Building to advocate for equal rights, the judge said that decades earlier she had been among those at a rally for the Equal Rights Amendment and that no arrests occurred then.

No arrests then? Gee, maybe because they dispersed? 

Vague? Nothing is vague about being asked to disperse after multiple commands. The rules for the NC General Assembly are not vague either. The protesters knew them when they entered. Remember, they had to attend a meeting to be a volunteer arrestee; they were well aware of what the consequences were. In fact, getting arrested was the goal.

Now these protesters want to dodge said consequences, creating a mockery of the use of true civil disobedience. Arrested for their convictions only to try and weasel out of what comes with that, dropping the bill in the laps of the taxpayers. I’ll reiterate what I’ve said before about this chickening out:

If you were serious about your civil disobedience enough to be arrested, man up and take the verdict handed down.  Talk about wanting to have your cake and eat it too.
If Moral Monday wants to further shred their credibility, they’re succeeding by “Moving Forward Together and Not One Step Back”.

“I’m also concerned that you know in most civil disobedience, the people that participate in the disobedience recognize that there’s to be some consequence,” says Willoughby. “I mean, that goes back to the sixties and Dr. King, I mean, those folks came to court and pled guilty and accepted responsibility for what they’ve done. These folks don’t really seem to want to accept responsibility for anything, and it’s um- makes it difficult to manage the cases.” – WUNC

Indyweek has sad trombone story for you below, emphasis is mine.

The case against us came down to simple terms: “This is an unlawful assembly,” Chief Weaver had told us. We were supposed to leave. We didn’t.

The prosecution had us on videotape, start to finish. Using a bullhorn, Weaver warned that we had five minutes to comply, announced when we had two minutes to comply and again right before the arrests began. He paced in front of our group, each time delivering his announcement more than once. What he said wasn’t clearly audible, either in real life or on tape, but we certainly noticed that he was addressing us.

When the prosecution rested, seven of the accused—everybody but me—took the stand. I didn’t testify because my lawyer, Stewart Fisher of Durham, discouraged the idea, probably because he suspected I would have said something stupid. He was probably right.

But, one after another, the other seven testified. They said that they’d come to be heard, a couple of them, after they’d been rebuffed in prior attempts to contact their legislators. The sincerity of their voices was persuasive: They believed that Republican politicians might take public opposition into consideration. All seven defendants showed faith in the judicial and political system.

Each of them admitted to clapping, chanting or singing, though the other man, Clayvon Everett, 66, said that he didn’t sing very loudly. He voluntarily told the court that he’d been arrested before. “I couldn’t believe that I had to march all over again for what I’d marched for as a teenager,” he explained. He also testified that he hadn’t been able to make out what Chief Weaver was saying. He was standing against the rotunda’s wall, behind three or four rows of protesters who didn’t go quiet when the bullhorn barked.

What’s funny is they admit they were told to disperse multiple times via bullhorn. Hilariously, some of the protesters claimed not to have heard that. Gee, could that be because they were making that much noise they drowned out a bullhorn?

If the case were just about 50 arrested and they let them off that’s one thing, but when you have over 900 who all volunteer to be arrested and all disregarded the instructions to disperse, that’s hardly because rules were “vague”. That’s not a bug, that’s a feature.

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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_
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