The cost of doing business in an unjust environment:
On Wednesday evening, about 60 people gathered in the Alamance County town’s Court Square to call for justice in the name of Andrew Brown, the Black man recently shot and killed by sheriff’s deputies in Elizabeth City.
A few minutes before 7 p.m., about a dozen protesters marched from the park in Court Square to Graham Soda Shop and Grill, a restaurant across from the courthouse owned by Jennifer Talley, a member of the city council. Inside, they sat and sang “Amazing Grace” to protest her support of the anti-protest ordinance.
An ordinance that makes it illegal to gather more than 10 people for a protest without obtaining a permit from notorious Sheriff Terry Johnson. Once the 11th person walks up, arrests can immediately follow. Of course the first protesters to be ejected from her restaurant were African-American:
Talley asked protesters and journalists not to record inside the restaurant and asked them to leave, though some had ordered drinks and were prepared to order food. She then left the restaurant and returned with police.
Officers approached the three Black men in the group one by one and asked, apologetically, that they leave at Talley’s request. Not everyone was individually asked to leave.
“Jennifer, I can’t eat here?” Maurice Wells Jr. called out when he was specifically asked. “You say you welcome me to your town, but you won’t allow me to eat here? Because I’m Black!”
The group left the restaurant after officers began asking protesters to show their IDs. No one was arrested.
Such blatant overt racism by a business owner is rare, even in these fraught times. But the fact Talley is also an elected official makes this ten times worse. She should be forced to resign by her fellow Council members, but they won't do a damn thing.