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Protester who invaded mayor’s restaurant found guilty of trespass, ordered to stay away

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A woman who was charged with creating a disturbance inside the Graham Soda Shop & Grill at 22 Northeast Court Square in downtown Graham last year has been convicted of misdemeanor second-degree trespassing and ordered not to return to the establishment or have any contact with its owners or employees.

Ann Newman Humphreys, 52, white female of 100 High Street, Carrboro, was found guilty Friday in Alamance County district court of misdemeanor second-degree trespassing at the Graham Soda Shop on April 28, 2021.

Ann Newman Humphreys                         Photo courtesy of Tony Crider

A self-described professional hoola hoop instructor and book editor, Humphreys had been a frequent presence at numerous protests in downtown Graham during the second half of 2020 – and later testified on behalf of several defendants at their trials in district court last year – but had not been charged during any of the protests prior to April 2021.

Humphreys had initially been among a group of more than two dozen protesters who came inside the Graham Soda Shop and caused a disturbance around dinnertime on Wednesday, April 28, 2021, according to court files.

The Graham Soda Shop is on the northeast corner of Court Square across from the Historic Court House.
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Jennifer Talley, then a Graham city councilwoman who now serves as mayor of Graham and owns the restaurant with her husband, Chuck Talley, described disturbance during a subsequent interview with The Alamance News. “They were arguing with other customers and beating on the windows – yelling, screaming, using profanity and racial slurs,” Jennifer Talley recalled at the time.

The restaurant’s employees initially asked the protesters to leave, but they refused, Talley told the newspaper in early May 2021. When they refused, her employees asked a legal observer who had accompanied the protesters – as part of program sponsored by the National Lawyers Guild to observe and document potentially unlawful arrests – to ask the crowd to leave, but they again refused, Talley elaborated.

Talley recalled that one family had been seated at the front of the restaurant but left hurriedly after their child started crying because of the commotion. Graham police subsequently responded to a call about the disturbance and got the protesters to disperse, Talley said.

None of the protesters who had come inside the Graham Soda Shop & Grill on April 28 were charged in connection with that event, though two people had been arrested the night before during another protest in Court Square that the Graham police department later attributed to an officer-involved shooting of Andrew Brown, Jr. in Elizabeth City on April 21, 2021.

Captain Daniel Sisk, then-public information officer for the Graham police department, later issued a news release in which he stated that other protesters who had entered the Graham Soda Shop on April 28 of last year “voluntarily left the location without incident.”

Humphreys was charged with second-degree trespass because she had returned to the restaurant the following day, “trying to film” and creating another disturbance that Jennifer Talley said seemed to have made her employees and diners feel uncomfortable.

The Alamance News has learned that it was Humphreys’ own footage that helped to convict her when the case was heard in Alamance County district court last week by a visiting judge, Jacquelyn L. Lee of Johnston County.

Alamance County assistant district attorney John Nedley prosecuted the case, according to Humphreys’ court file. She was represented by attorney Patrick Morgan of Chapel Hill.
Humphreys was sentenced to community punishment – which typically requires a defendant to perform community service – and ordered to pay a $25 fine, as well as $198 in court costs.

Her court file states that she is “not to be found in or on the premises of Graham Soda Shop” and is to have no contact with its owners or employees.


Read coverage from original arrest in 2021: https://alamancenews.com/additional-protester-arrested-for-uproar-in-busy-graham-eatery/

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