Sunday, July 14, 2024

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Graham, NC 27253
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Judge hears testimony in Drumwright trial all day Wednesday; trial to resume Sept. 8

Six deputies testified all day in district court Wednesday about the Oct. 31 march and rally that ended with pepper spray after protesters wouldn’t leave the courthouse grounds when the event was declared an unlawful assembly and shut down by the Alamance County sheriff’s office.

The rally was terminated because the organizer, Rev. Gregory Drumwright of Greensboro, didn’t comply with the permit he had been granted to stage that day’s rally on the grounds of the Alamance County Historic Court House.

There were two gas cans and a gas-powered generator on courthouse grounds despite the fact that Drumwright had agreed to the permit’s requirement that assured only a battery-powered generator could be used.

Drumwright is on trial for three offenses, all misdemeanors: failure to disperse on command, resisting a public officer, and creating a public disturbance.

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Witnesses were sequestered from each other so as to avoid any comparing notes or hearing one another’s testimony.

A battery of defense attorneys tried to create doubt about the severity of the gas-powered generator violation, the credibility of the deputies’ testimony, and law enforcement’s decision to cancel the rally altogether when the gas cans and generator were discovered.

Alamance County sheriff ’s deputy Pete Triolo testified that he had used a bullhorn to warn the crowd three times within 15 minutes that the rally was over and to leave the area immediately.

It was after the final warning that deputies deployed pepper spray to disperse the crowd and arrested those, including Drumwright, who would not vacate the courthouse grounds after the deputies’ commands to do so.

Defense attorneys quizzed whether Triolo’s warnings could be heard.

Alamance County sheriff’s deputy Pete Triolo on October 31, when he and other members of the strategic response team emerged from the courthouse and ordered the end to Drumwright’s rally. Triolo gave three warning, spaced five minutes apart, for the crowd to disperse. Then they deployed pepper spray and began arresting those, including Drumwright, who did not comply with the dispersal order.

The judge, who had heard Triolo bellow the level of his warning, unamplified, during an earlier trial, asked attorneys whether they wished for the deputy to repeat that illustration.  They declined.

Testimony will not continue until September 8, the earliest date that the phalanx of attorneys, the judge, witnesses, and assistant district attorney could all be available.

Read more details on the day’s testimony in this week’s (tomorrow’s, July 29) edition of The Alamance News.

See related coverage about Monday hearing at which judge rejects defense attempts for broad subpoena to include Graham’s police chief, additional video and audio:


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