RALEIGH — The first trial of a Moral Monday protester revealed far more than the guilty verdicts that have shaken attorneys and demonstrators still awaiting their court dates.
General Assembly Police Chief Jeff Weaver testified to a murmur of disbelief among the many lawyers attending the Wake County District Court hearing that his 18-officer department had people in this region they labeled anarchists and collected intelligence on them.
Weaver did not identify the so-called anarchists, nor did he reveal how many his department considered to fall in that category.
But the chief at the helm of the law enforcement agency that arrested more than 930 people this past summer testified that his officers had scanned the many Moral Monday rallies with eyes trained for anarchists.
On Monday, Weaver declined to elaborate on what kind of intelligence his department collected on the people he and his officers considered to be against government.
Weaver also declined to comment about his testimony that his officers often had a good idea about who might be among those getting arrested in the Monday crowds because of intelligence provided by Raleigh police officers.
Im not going to discuss intelligence gathering, and Im not going to discuss operational issues, Weaver said.
Raleigh Chief of Police Cassandra Deck-Brown said meetings held at the Davie Street Presbyterian Church on May 6 and 13 that were open to media and the public were attended by one officer who was not in uniform.
The purpose of the officers presence was to determine how many people were expecting to be arrested to allow the department to gauge the sufficiency of the logistical support, such as transport vehicles, available at the Legislative Building. When it was determined that accurate information could be obtained without attending the meetings, the officers presence was discontinued, the chief said.
During the Moral Monday demonstrations, the Raleigh Police Department and the NAACP cultivated and maintained a close working relationship, which the department continues to value, she added.
The meetings typically were held in an open church, not far from the state Legislative Building, with many people coming and going.
The Rev. William Barber, head of the state NAACP, has said his group had nothing to hide and would have welcomed police had they introduced themselves. At many of the meetings and rallies, Barber instructed demonstrators not to boo police, but to be polite to officers who were just doing their jobs.