National labor leaders arrested at latest 'Moral Monday' protest in Raleigh

tmcdonald@newsobserver.comJune 17, 2014 

— Two people who lead a national government employees union were among the 20 charged with trespassing during the “Moral Monday” demonstration at the N.C. Legislative Building this week.

J. David Cox, president of the American Federation of Government Employees, and Bryan DeWyngaert, the organization’s chief of staff, were both charged with one count each of misdemeanor trespassing, according to arrest warrants filed Tuesday at the Wake County Clerk of Court’s Office.

Cox, 63, of Silver Spring, Md., and DeWyngaert, 54, of Springfield, Va., were accused of remaining on the premises of the N.C. General Assembly “after having been notified not to enter or remain there by a person in charge of the premises,” according to the arrest warrant.

The union, based in Washington, D.C., issued a statement Tuesday that said Cox was among more than 800 people who protested “extremist policies passed by the N.C. state legislature that have targeted the state’s poorest and most vulnerable citizens.”

The crowd size of 800 was based on estimates by State Capitol police. The NAACP, a lead organizer of the protest, said that more than 1,500 people took part.

Lt. Marvin Brock of the General Assembly police said he began removing demonstrators from the second-floor rotunda area of the Legislative Building after officers received noise complaints. The demonstration and arrests are part of an ongoing series of demonstrations that started last year. Last summer more than 900 demonstrators were arrested for similar actions over several weeks.

The workers union said that Cox is a native of North Carolina who participated in the Monday protest to show solidarity “for the plight of working men and women in the state who have been harmed by laws recently enacted by the legislature.”

“Many of these lawmakers have lost touch with the average citizen,” Cox said in a statement. “Their laws are denying benefits to unemployed workers, denying health care coverage to low income workers and pushing out experienced teachers by suppressing their wages.”

Lawmakers say their policies and laws will help restore North Carolina’s economy. They cite lower unemployment rates as evidence that they’re working.

Their critics contend the unemployment rate is lower, in part, because some of the policies meant the chronically unemployed no longer get counted, skewing the overall numbers.

Among others charged with trespassing Monday were: Todd Alexander Warren, 39, Anna Natasha Swauger, 26, Amber Michelle Matthews, 22, Ty’eisha Danielle Batts, 28, Matthew Ian Wolfe, 28, all of Guilford County; Lindsey Annette Ware, 20, of Rowan County; Keith Ludlum, 42, of Bladenboro, Darren Kym McDonald, 21, of Thomasville, Christopher Paul Stockwell-Goering,59, of Waynesville, Syene Thydee Jasmin, 25, of Trenton, Princeston L. Latham, 25, of Williamston; Tyaisha Mignon Williams, 33, of Wendell; Benjamin Hale Wilkins, 31 and Tara Reade Schmitt, 24, both of Durham; Jinny Voris Batterson, 67, of Cary; Talia Zania Alsous, 23, of Rolesville, and Betty Atkins Bland, 73, and Carolyn Veronica Billings, 75, both of Raleigh.

The protesters were released from custody on unsecured bails of $1,000 each.

McDonald: 919-829-4533

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