RALEIGH (AP) — One of North Carolina’s most prominent civil rights leaders, the Rev. William Barber, is banned from entering the state Legislative Building after he was arrested at a protest there last month.
A magistrate ordered Barber and 31 others arrested during a sit-in over health care on May 30 to stay away from the building as part of their bond on second-degree trespassing charges.
General Assembly Police Chief Martin Brock said he didn’t ask for the ban, but will likely request it for future protesters who are arrested.
“If someone has been arrested two or three times, would it be reasonable to expect that they would be arrested again? That would be my observation,” Brock told the News & Observer of Raleigh.
But Barber’s attorney said the bans are illegal and she plans to ask a judge to overturn them at the next court hearing for the arrested protesters on June 26.
Geeta Kapur cites the North Carolina Constitution, which says: “the people have a right to assemble together … to instruct their representatives, and to apply to the General Assembly for redress of grievances.”
The state NAACP president and the other protesters weren’t interfering with legislative business, which makes the ban even worse, she said.
“The only way you can petition a legislator is by going to the legislature,” Kapur said. “We take this to be an intimidation tactic.”
Whether the ban sticks is questionable. A similar 2013 decision to order protesters to stay away from the building was thrown out.
Information from: The News & Observer, http://www.newsobserver.com