Sunday afternoon, Rev. Greg Drumwright of Greensboro stood in front of the J.B. Allen, Jr. Court House in Graham, pointing to it as a “house of injustice” for the treatment he said black and Hispanic residents of Alamance County receive there.
Wednesday afternoon, Drumwright himself will be inside that same courthouse at a special hearing called by the Alamance County district attorney’s office to consider the D.A.’s request to add as a condition of Drumwright’s bond that he not be allowed on county property “other than when he’s attending court” while his charges are pending.
Drumwright was charged with 2 felonies & 3 misdemeanors after an Oct. 31 march & rally in Graham that was ended amid pepper spray after deputies discovered two gas cans and a gas-powered generator (to power his microphone); the generator was a violation of his permit (which specified only a battery-powered generator could be used) and that officials said endangered the public.
When officials discovered that Drumwright’s supporters had brought the gas cans and a generator onto courthouse property, when those were explicitly prohibited by the permit Drumwright had signed, they stated that the event was over and ordered the crowd to disperse.
When they refused, deputies – and later Graham police – used pepper spray to force the crowd to leave the courthouse grounds and the downtown area. Graham police had earlier also used pepper spray to force demonstrators out of the road around Court Square, which was supposed to remain open to traffic, based on criteria the police had outlined to Drumwright and to which, they insist, he had agreed.
Drumwright was initially charged with misdemeanor failure to disperse after law enforcement instructed him to leave the property, after learning he had violated the facilities use agreement he had signed to use the courthouse grounds for his rally on Halloween day.
The four new charges filed later include: felony obstruction of justice and felony assault on an officer, plus additional misdemeanor charges for inciting a riot and resisting, obstructing, and delaying a law enforcement officer.
This past Sunday’s march had as its theme police and criminal justice reform, with Drumwright focusing on what he considers to be the harsh and unfair treatment he and his supporters received when pepper spray was used at the Oct. 31 event and when he and 22 others were arrested.
During Sunday’s march and during various stops where he made remarks, Drumwright also repeated his calls for the resignations of Alamance County sheriff Terry Johnson and Graham police chief Kristy Cole. Drumwright often uses the terms “tear gas” or “chemical weapons” interchangeably in describing the use of pepper spray on Oct. 31.
Nationally famous civil rights attorney Ben Crump will be representing Drumwright Wed., his organization, Justice for the Next Generation, said; both will also hold a news conference at noon in front of the courthouse before the scheduled 2:00 court appearance.
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Crump has represented high-profile clients across the country, including the families of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown.
[Editor’s Note: Alamance News reporter Tomas Murawski was also among the 23 people arrested during the Oct. 31 event; Murawski was taking photographs of the first person arrested that day by Graham police for failing to clear the roadway when he became the second to be arrested. Graham police arrested 8 people that day; the sheriff’s office arrested 15 others.]