North Carolina judge denies request to ban pastor accused of being ‘danger to community’
A judge in North Carolina denied a prosecutor's motion to bar Rev. Greg Drumwright from Alamance County property
A judge in Alamance County, North Carolina has rejected a prosecutor’s demand that a pastor be banned on account of being a “danger to the community,” and an agitator who would riot.
Rev. Greg Drumwright led 200 Black Lives Matter protesters on the streets of Graham, NC on Monday, The News & Observer reported. Two days later, Assistant District Attorney Kevin Patrick Harrison submitted a request to have Rev. Drumwright banned from Alamance County property because he was “a danger to the community,” and would likely riot.
Harrison used recent events to bolster his claim that Drumwright needed to be barred from the premises. In July, Drumwright led a Black Lives Matter march in favor of bringing down a Confederate monument.
A lawsuit filed over the summer allowed for protesters to gather weekly against white supremacy and police brutality around the Confederate statue after Alamance County attempted to restrict their ability to do so.
Drumwright held a second march on Oct. 31 which was the last day of early voting in the state. However, the Graham “I Am Change March to the Polls” was interrupted when police used pepper spray to disperse those gathered. Police claimed that Drumwright had a generator and a gas can on courthouse property. Drumwright insisted that the items were nonthreatening.
The melee resulted in more than 20 arrests including Drumwright who faces one count of felony assault with physical injury on a law enforcement officer and one count of felony obstructing justice.
Several of the people arrested have become known as “the Graham 12,” with the ire of authorities seemingly on Drumwright. The pastor, 40, has claimed the tactics of the police are a form of voter suppression.
Harrison went to court to bar Drumwright from the property which would have compromised his bail. Experts doubted that Harrison was on sound legal footing to even make such a request.
“You can’t be forced to trade your constitutional right to do something as a condition for being let out on bail,” said Sarah Ludington, director of Duke University’s First Amendment Clinic. “To the extent the goal is to prevent Rev. Drumwright from engaging in peaceful protest, I would say that that is an unconstitutional condition.”
A judge agreed with this view and denied the motion on Wednesday on the merit that the demand was too broad and inadequate.
Ben Crump, the famed civil rights attorney who has brought cases of injustices to the fore, has now gotten involved. He was present at the J.B. Allen Jr. Criminal Courthouse and decried the treatment of protesters in Alamance County. Crump declared that the ruling was “one major step toward justice,” in a tweet.
“I’m here with the Graham 12 and Rev. Drumwright who were arrested for registering our people to vote. We have news, breaking news. The judge denied the motion and they will not be prohibited from peaceful protest,” Crump said.
“But that’s only one part of the battle. We still have to make sure all these trumped up charges for these young people are dropped.”
Drumwright echoed the sentiments of Crump and told those listening that they would continue in the spirit of the late Rep. John Lewis.
“So even though George Floyd summer has ended, Freedom Fall has begun. I’m going to give everyone their marching orders. It’s time to continue getting into good trouble for change,” Drumwright said.
Crump then led a chant of “Free the Graham 12!”
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