Monday, February 26, 2024

114 West Elm Street
Graham, NC 27253
Ph: 336.228.7851

Convictions for October 2020 protester Brenden Kee dismissed

Three remaining misdemeanor charges against Brenden Jamar Kee of Greensboro – for his alleged actions during the October 2020 march in downtown Graham that ended with pepper spray – have been dismissed by Alamance County assistant district attorney Kevin Harrison.

Kee, 31, black male, of 645 Creek Ridge Road, Greensboro, had been charged during the “I am Change” march to the polls in downtown Graham on October 31, 2020 with four misdemeanor offenses: two counts of resisting a public officer; public disturbance; and failure to disperse on command.

Brenden Kee (booking photo Oct. 31, 2020)

Alamance County court files state that all of the charges against Kee have been dismissed without leave, meaning the cases cannot be reopened for any additional proceedings.

This photo shows the gas can in close proximity to the generator, which the sheriff’s office said made the situation unsafe and potentially dangerous to the rally participants.
A second photo of a gas can on the courthouse grounds.
The gas-powered generator that was discovered by the sheriff’s office during the rally. They were led to the generator when they observed two gas cans on site.

When his case went to trial in Alamance County district court in September 2021, Kee pleaded not guilty to each of the charges, with his attorney, Jason Keith of Greensboro, arguing that Kee had not been “positively identified” as the person who was involved in a scuffle over a gas generator that had been brought onto the grounds of Alamance County’s historic court house, in violation of a facilities use permit that had been granted for the event.

- Advertisement -

Retired visiting district court Lunsford Long, III, of Orange County, agreed at Harrison’s request during Kee’s trial in September 2021 to dismiss one charge of resisting a public officer. He was found guilty of the other three charges.

However, Kee appealed his convictions to superior court and has since had all of the charges dismissed by Harrison, the assistant D.A. assigned to prosecute all of the so-called 2020 protest cases. Early last year, Harrison dismissed the charge of failure to disperse on command.

And on December 19, Harrison also dismissed the two remaining charges against Kee, misdemeanor resisting a public officer, Alamance County court files show.

When he was charged in 2020, Kee had been described at the time of his charges as one of the main assistants to the event’s organizer, Rev. Gregory Drumwright of Greensboro, and described himself on his social media accounts as a math teacher and as a minister/co-outreach director for Drumwright’s church in Greensboro, Citadel of Praise.

Video footage recorded during the October 31, 2020 march and rally in downtown Graham – and presented at the trial in September 2021 – appeared to show Kee in the middle of a struggle over a gas-powered generator that Alamance County sheriff’s deputies had attempted to confiscate after discovering it had been brought onto the grounds of the county’s Historic Court House, in violation of the permit issued to Drumwright for the event.

Keith, his attorney, vigorously argued at Kee’s trial that there was no way to be certain that his client had been depicted in the recording, given that the faces of many of the event’s participants were heavily obscured by face masks that had been required under the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions on public gatherings in place at the time.

Nor was there any way, the defense attorney contended at the trial in September 2021, to positively identify Kee as having physically interfered with the seizure of the generator, which he said was impossible because the deputy who attempted to retrieve the generator had been bending down at the time. Keith also contended that none of the deputies who testified against Kee had any personal knowledge of the defendant by which they could positively identify him and that Harrison, the assistant D.A., had not proven Kee was involved in an altercation.

Numerous sheriff’s deputies had testified at multiple subsequent trials for the nearly two dozen defendants charged on October 31, 2020 that the facilities use permit granted for the event required any sound amplification equipment to be battery-powered.

The discovery of a gas can and a running gas generator inside a cloth beach wagon – which had been brought onto the courthouse grounds in violation of a permit that had been granted to Drumwright for exclusive use of the courthouse property on October 31 – ultimately prompted the sheriff’s department to declare the event an illegal assembly and order the crowd to disperse.

Kee’s court files indicate that Harrison dismissed the charges against him without holding a new trial in superior court.

Must Read

School system’s budgetary crisis continues to cast pall over county’s fiscal...

Alamance County’s commissioners were nothing if amicable on Monday as they were formally introduced to Ken Ingle, the newly-installed president of Alamance Community College. The...