This time, General Assembly police should avoid Moral Monday arrests

May 1, 2014 

Republican lawmakers were surprised that thousands of protesters showed up over several weeks to object to the shortchanging of public education and the poor and unemployed.

And the chief organizer of the Moral Monday protests last spring and summer, the Rev. William Barber, had to be a little surprised as well. The protests really were remarkable and should have delivered a message to GOP leaders that their election was not quite the mandate they thought it was.

Another legislative session is set to begin May 14, and Barber says Moral Mondays will resume May 19.

As the legislative session went on last year and Republicans continued to damage state agencies, public education and the jobless, the number of protesters grew. Some who came inside the Legislative Building were arrested. Others stayed outside to lend their support.

Among the protesters were doctors and teachers, older people and young people, a true cross-section of North Carolina. Sadly, Republicans reacted badly, with Wilmington state Sen. Thom Goolsby going so far as to call the events “Moron Monday.”

Also not handling things well was the General Assembly’s police force. Though Wake County District Attorney Colon Willoughby, since retired, rightly suggested protesters be given citations instead of being arrested, they were arrested and hundreds of those cases still clog the Wake courts.

This session, citations should be the order of the day, though there is some question as to whether protesters inside a building they and other citizens own should be even cited. If protesters are not bringing the public’s business to a halt, they should be left alone, period.

News & Observer is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service