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Judge: Former NAACP head allowed back in General Assembly

April 17th, 2019

— Rev. William Barber, the former head of the state NAACP and architect of North Carolina’s “Moral Monday” protests, can go back inside the Legislative Building, a Wake County judge ruled Monday.

Barber was banned from the building as part of the conditions of his release following his arrest at the legislature in 2017, which was part of a series of protests. Superior Court Judge Paul Ridgeway ruled Monday that the state couldn’t continue to keep him out.

“We had a hearing, didn’t last very long, and the judge granted our motion,” Barber’s attorney, John McWilliam, said Tuesday.

McWilliam has represented dozens of people arrested in General Assembly protests over the years, and he said the state rarely fought requests to re-enter the building.

Barber, he said, was different. McWilliam said the Wake County District Attorney’s Office argued Monday that one of the reasons was the coming teacher’s rally, planned at the General Assembly May 1.

“State is on record saying that one reason they didn’t want me to come back was concern that I might attend May 1 teacher event cause more people to attend,” Barber himself said on Twitter late Monday. “This is profiling it was overruled today.

“We won God prevailed,” Barber said on the social media platform.

Prosecutors had previously argued that it’s common for people charged with trespassing, as Barber and others were following the Moral Monday protests, to be banned from the place involved until the case is resolved.

Barber’s attorney essentially made a First Amendment argument, saying every North Carolina resident has a constitutional right to visit the Legislative Building and “instruct” their lawmakers.

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