A 'safe' approach to handling Moral Monday arrests

July 4, 2013 

It is a reasonable suggestion that would save the taxpayers perhaps tens of thousands of dollars, this idea from Wake County District Attorney Colon Willoughby. Faced with a caseload of about 700 from the arrests of demonstrators on the Moral Monday protests at the General Assembly, Willoughby has suggested to General Assembly police Chief Jeff Weaver that demonstrators be given citations rather than being arrested.

He notes that most agencies do that in similar situations.

This is exactly what the police should do, given that the protesters have shown no inclination toward violence. They’ve gone quietly when ordered to do so.

For Weaver to defend the arrests as being in the interest of safety is thus a hollow argument, no matter what Republican partisans say. They, of course, like the idea of protesters being hauled off to jail, perhaps in a vain hope that the arrests will discourage others from coming to the Legislative Building on Mondays to oppose the right-wing, anti-labor, anti-consumer, big-government intrusions of the Republican-led General Assembly.

Republicans can dish it out; they ought to be able to take it with legitimate, orderly protests from those who don’t agree with their agenda. The sight of hundreds of people, citizens of all ages and backgrounds overwhelmingly from North Carolina, being arrested is inspiring to some, maddening to others, but it represents democracy and the freedoms therein.

Surely the Republicans who are such ardent defenders of democracy, who have long complained of being left out by Democrats who treated them badly and ignored their opinions, don’t now resist the idea of a loyal opposition? Willoughby’s idea will both punish those who break the law,but it also saves the people money and eases the burden on a police force not accustomed to handling these types of events.

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