Dozens arrested as NAACP leads protest again at General Assembly - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

Dozens arrested as NAACP leads protest again at General Assembly

Posted: Updated:
RALEIGH, N.C. -

Nearly 60 protestors were arrested Monday at the North Carolina General Assembly, bringing the demonstrations led by the state chapter of the NAACP to their highest total in their fourth straight week.

Hundreds thronged the Senate rotunda to show support for demonstrations that are drawing increasing numbers of people to Raleigh for what the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is calling "Moral Mondays." General Assembly Police Chief Jeff Weaver placed the arrest count at 57, which brings the total over four weeks to 153.

Hundreds more supporters remained outside the General Assembly before and after the protests, waiting for those arrested to emerge.

What started with tens of supporters and 17 arrests has attracted hundreds of people of different age groups, races and professions to protest the policies of the General Assembly, which came under Republican leadership after the 2010 midterm elections. Their complaints range from cuts to social programs to the proposed repeal of a law intended to take racial bias out of capital punishment.

Rich D'angiolillo, a 63-year-old software developer from Mebane, said he heard about the demonstrations from friends and decided he needed to join the supporters to raise his voice against a decision to forego a Medicaid expansion that would have completely covered 500,000 people through 2016.

"I'm not sure if it is the best way or not, but I feel that I have to do something," he said. "I don't feel that my efforts in other ways — letter writing, phone calls — have worked that effectively, so I'll keep trying until something does work."

Leigh Bordley, a member of the Durham Public Schools board, stood among those risking arrest to challenge proposals she said will only exacerbate achievement gaps caused by poverty. She said a House proposal to give grants to families who send their children to private schools will further undermine funding for public schools.

"These are vouchers under another name," she said. "They are simply a way to transfer money to private companies."

Those arrested have faced misdemeanor charges of trespassing, failure to disperse and violating building rules, specifically those against raising placards or signs.

The NAACP contends those arrests may violate First Amendment rights. Chapter president the Rev. William Barber said his group's attorneys continue to study possible challenges, partly based on wording in the state constitution that references the citizens' right to "instruct" their legislators.

"There is some question among a lot of legal scholars about how you can arrest somebody for holding up an eight-by-ten placard that says, 'Don't cut Medicaid' when you have the right to instruct," Barber said.

Weaver said he's consulted with staff attorneys and is confident the arrests fall within reasonable time, place and manner restrictions on First Amendment rights.

"They're the ones that are coming in and causing the disruption," he said. "We've always given any group access to express their first amendment rights. We issue permits for the outside of the facility."

The Monday protests will resume after Memorial Day, when the NAACP will begin a 25-county tour of public gatherings across the state.

  • 29 Virginia High Schools on Personal Finance Top-100 List

    29 Virginia High Schools on Personal Finance Top-100 List

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 9:32 PM EDT2014-04-23 01:32:06 GMT
    29 schools in the Commonwealth, including many in our area, ranked the the nation's top 100 best high schools for personal finance instruction.
    29 schools in the Commonwealth, including many in our area, ranked the the nation's top 100 best high schools for personal finance instruction.
  • Franklin Co. Sheriff's Office investigating juvenile death

    Franklin Co. Sheriff's Office investigating juvenile death

    Franklin Co. Sheriff's Office investigating juvenile death

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 10:50 AM EDT2014-04-22 14:50:58 GMT
    Deputies were called to Double Oaks Lane in the Burnt Chimney community, where they found a seven-year-old boy with a gunshot wound.
    Deputies were called to Double Oaks Lane in the Burnt Chimney community, where they found a seven-year-old boy with a gunshot wound.
  • Roanoke Police release pictures of suspects in armed robbery

    Roanoke Police release pictures of suspects in armed robbery

    Monday, April 21 2014 4:23 PM EDT2014-04-21 20:23:34 GMT
    Roanoke City Police continue to investigate the armed robbery that took place at Check into Cash on Valley View Boulevard last Tuesday, April 15th.
    Roanoke City Police continue to investigate the armed robbery that took place at Check into Cash on Valley View Boulevard last Tuesday, April 15th.
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Mom bites off dog's ear to save daughter during attack

    Mom bites off dog's ear to save daughter during attack

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 2:49 PM EDT2014-04-22 18:49:19 GMT
    Image from CNN/KHOU-TVImage from CNN/KHOU-TV
    In a backyard in Alvin, swings a very lucky girl. Her name is Mackenzi Plass, or Kenzi for short, and she survived a dog attack and has undergone several surgeries."She'll be two and a half in May," said her very proud mother Chelsi Camp. "She's doing great. You wouldn't know it if you couldn't see."Mackenzi has scars on her face after the ordeal just weeks ago that put her mother's animal instincts to the test."You do whatever you can," said Camp. "I don't have physical strength at my side."...
    In a backyard in Alvin, swings a very lucky girl. Her name is Mackenzi Plass, or Kenzi for short, and she survived a dog attack and has undergone several surgeries."She'll be two and a half in May," said her very proud mother Chelsi Camp. "She's doing great. You wouldn't know it if you couldn't see."Mackenzi has scars on her face after the ordeal just weeks ago that put her mother's animal instincts to the test."You do whatever you can," said Camp. "I don't have physical strength at my side."...
  • Mom wins lawsuit against TSA after breast milk screening problems

    Mom wins lawsuit against TSA after breast milk screening problems

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 4:40 PM EDT2014-04-23 20:40:54 GMT
    A Southern California woman who was held at a Phoenix airport four years ago after refusing to have her breast milk X-rayed has reached a settlement with the Transportation Security Administration. Stacey
    A Southern California woman who was held at a Phoenix airport four years ago after refusing to have her breast milk X-rayed has reached a settlement with the Transportation Security Administration. Stacey
  • Owner of Raleigh 'Party Mansion' guilty of tax evasion

    Owner of Raleigh 'Party Mansion' guilty of tax evasion

    Monday, April 14 2014 4:07 PM EDT2014-04-14 20:07:04 GMT
    Claude Verbal II, who now lives in Miami, pleads guilty to a number of federal tax evasion charges.
    Claude Verbal II, who now lives in Miami, pleads guilty to a number of federal tax evasion charges.
Powered by WorldNow

WSLS 10, P.O. Box 10
Roanoke, VA 24022-0010

Telephone: 540.981.9110
Fax: 540.343.3157
Email: news@wsls.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.