Shut it down now, Mr. Pope

Dear Governor Pope.

Do you remember a couple of years ago when you called the Attorney General's office and asked them check up on me? I sure do. I had been writing about my weapons training in the military, and you managed to think it was all about you. Or maybe I should just say you were scared.

So imagine my surprise today when some of your minions began to single out Moral Monday protestors on the Civitas website by posting their photographs.

I will be contacting the Attorney General's office tomorrow with a formal complaint and a request that he investigate the Civitas Institute. After that, I will be looking into filing charges against you and your organization for intimidation.

Your people are out of line. You have 24 hours to shut down your little game.

James Protzman


Please repost this

and spread it far and wide.

Roy Cooper

Removed my comment and question from his Facebook page.

It appears the post is back up now

Maybe they "hid" and then "unhid" it?

I'm not sure what the hell is going on. Will call them tomorrow.

Post gone again

I looked at Cooper's FB page and don't see it - the comment might be gone again.

If it's something that the AG's office would look into and has the possibility of turning into a case, they may not want comments about it publicly on their site since it's more of a tool for connecting with the public about the AG's work.

It's more than the mugshots

I had a chance to look over the site more fully. It also includes a browseable, searchable and downloadable database of all the people arrested that includes their party registration, name of their employer, and affiliations with groups (like Equality NC). It also notes if there's a discrepancy between the person's voter registration record and the address they gave to police.

All this info is on the "Protestor Database" tab. And you can download the full thing in several formats (PDF, Excel, etc).

The News and Observer and WRAL have mugshots of arrests for surrounding counties - these only include the person's name, their charge, height, weight and date of birth. Other commercial sites, like WakeMugs, which automatically pull publicly available arrest records include similar info.

It would appear that Civitas is trolling through websites for the additional information on individuals.

They're probably pulling the voter registration information from the NC Board of Elections website, since they can access your date of birth from the arrest records. (Just putting in a name there will give you everyone in the state database with that name - the DOB narrows it down to a specific person.)

As for the names of employers and affiliations with organizations, they might be pulling these from Google searches or looking at Facebook pages.

I'm not a lawyer, but if they wanted to collect and collate this data to make some charts, that's one thing, but publishing this extra info on each person arrested would probably push this firmly into the arena of harassment - it creates the potential for people to track down the protestors at their home or where they work.

Someone can correct me on what public information is provided about anyone who is arrested - I don't think they can get this other information without assembling it from a number of sources.

I'd advise getting lots of screenshots and downloading the spreadsheet in case legal action is pursued.

Desperately Seeking Attorneys

If you are a lawyer or know of a lawyer who would like to take this on, please contact me here or by email. james at jamesprotzman dot com

I am not looking for pro bono help. This is a paying gig.


This reminds me of the time my wife and I faced down the Klan in the mid eighties. They had members dressed in paramilitary garb who systematically took pictures of us.

I think that they were trying to scare us, but it was just comical.

This is much more serious. Pope has the potential to cause real problems for the folks who they can identify.

Go get them James

Scum, all of them at Civitas, and their Master. Thanks for tilting at this windmill. Cooper does not respond or do his job - as witnessed by his conduct in the foreclosure affair. Gutless I suppose. Hang in there. Keep giving us options to help.



Comment I left on Cooper's wall

Mr. Cooper,

Art Pope, and the flunkies he employs at Civitas, has stooped to a new low, publishing the names, political affiliations, and other personal information about Moral Monday protesters not typically available from police arrest logs. Here is a man afraid of open, public debate of his ideas and agenda, a man who believes not in the principle of one person, one vote, but of one dollar, one vote.

The information contained in the Civitas "Protester Database" is far more personal and intrusive than information typically published in local media "arrest logs", and leaves these citizens, who are guilty of nothing more than exercising their constitutional rights - and not yet convicted - vulnerable to a host of potential threats ranging from identity theft all the way up to violent retribution or worse. These actions, funded and approved by Art Pope, amount to harassment at the very least, and should trigger a full investigation.

Rather than welcome the views of all people for consideration, Mr. Pope would apparently rather eliminate opinions dissenting from his own than have an honest, open discussion. Could it be that deep down he knows his agenda only benefits an elite, wealthy few at the expense of the majority of our citizens? Is Art Pope afraid of honest debate and open discussion? His actions speak much louder than words.

The ball is now in your court, Mr. Cooper, please don't drop it.


"...the question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be."

Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from Birmingham Jail

I am a lawyer. While I think

I am a lawyer. While I think the Civitas database is a bit creepy, it is not illegal in any way that I can discern. All of that information is public information. The database appears to be drawn primarily from voting records and arrest records - both unquestionably public, factual and not defamatory. The First Amendment protects Civitas in this instance, and you should think about whether the response you're advocating would be what you would want if you were on the other side of this dispute.

Beyond that, I hope Civitas leaves the arrestee database up because the information contained in it is the opposite of embarrassing. When you scroll through it, you see teachers, pastors, the elderly - people most people respect and look up to. It crystallizes what the NAACP is trying to get across - when these people, the moral exemplars of our society, are being thrown in jail, something's very wrong.

It may be legal, but it still stinks

And in case you missed it, the last category on their data chart has to do with whether the individual's address matches their voter registration address. I have no doubt that Civitas or one of their affiliates are going to pursue some sort of "challenge" for those who fall into that category, meaning their right to vote will be put in jeopardy because of their political stance.

I have no desire to rationalize Civitas' behavior on this. Regardless of the result, or whether some of the arrestees consider it a badge of honor, the bottom line (for me) is the fact that Art Pope's puppets like to play the intellectual, but they're nothing more than bullies-for-hire. And both John Hood and Francis de Luca should be mortally ashamed by this action.