Hundreds of supporters crowded the third-story balcony above the 84 participants in civil disobedience plus media covering the prohibited peaceful gathering at the NCGA on June 10, 2013.
The start to yesterday's Moral Monday at the N.C. General Assembly in Raleigh was delayed a bit because of tornado warnings and a sudden spate of harsh weather, but pouring rain didn't dampen the spirits of the many hundreds of protesters who gathered at the Halifax Mall behind the General Assembly building to speak out against the raft of odious bills being pushed through the state legislature by the Republican supermajority.
The total number of arrests in six waves of what the NAACP-North Carolina has dubbed "Moral Monday" was brought to 388 by the 84 people (myself and a couple other Kossacks, including the fantastic joank, who was also celebrating her birthday through civil disobedience) who entered the General Assembly to sing songs of resistance, to pray in front of the doors of the second-story N.C. House chambers, and to hold up protest signs (which are prohibited in the building) and refusing to disperse. Click here for the News & Observer's photos of the arrests.
This week, however, an 85th arrest was made: Charlotte Observer religion reporter Tim Funk was handcuffed and detained by G.A. and Raleigh police officers for "failure for disperse." Funk was visibly wearing media credentials and was interviewing Charlotte-area clergy attending the protest and arrests.
We saw Funk amongst us, along with other journalists, and he was clearly taking notes in a notebook, interviewing clergy, not singing or praying, carrying no signs, and holding up his media credentials and explaining his role to the G.A. police officers when they made the dispersal announcements. Those of us near him also explained to officers that Funk was not a green armband (designating civil-disobedience participants) and was not among our group. Nonetheless,
Funk, who was wearing Charlotte Observer identification, was handcuffed and taken along with the arrested protesters to the Wake County magistrate’s office to be arraigned on misdemeanor charges of trespassing and failure to disperse.
Jeff Weaver, police chief for the General Assembly Police in Raleigh who oversaw the arrests, told The Associated Press that Funk did not heed a warning from officers to disperse before the arrests began.
Funk was taken to the Wake County Detention Center with the 84 civil disobedience arrestees and processed for charges, then released around 11 p.m. with the fourth busload of arrestees.