A quorum of the Carrboro Aldermen was arrested tonight

[After getting out of jail. Photo by Jeff Herrick.]I'm pretty sure that no other municipality in North Carolina could have done business from prison in Raleigh tonight. But Carrboro Mayor Mark Chilton (who helped instigate Mega Moral Monday) as well as Alderpeople Michelle Johnson, Damon Seils, and Sammy Slade all committed civil disobedience with about 140 other people - including Chapel Hill Town Council Member Donna Bell and OP Editor Molly De Marco - by refusing to leave the rotunda in the N.C. General Assembly.

Among the 1,000 protesters outside the NCGA were a quorum of Orange County Commissioners (Bernadette Pelissier, Penny Rich, Renee Price, and Mark Dorosin), a Carrboro Alderperson (Randee Haven-O'Donnell), OP regular Mark Marcoplos, and two more OP editors (Travis Crayton and myself).

Below I'll post a collection of tweets from us and many others. See tweets, photos, and more at http://storify.com/orangepolitics/mega-moral-monday/ and embedded below.

Photo credit: Jeff Herrick



at 4am. They sure drug it out. I think to send a message. My advice - ignore it. Mostly friendly cops. I'm sure they enjoyed the diversion of our up-beat presence, but they are well aware that this Legislature doesn't have their interests as public servants or middle-class people very high on their agenda.It was so great to walk through the door that said "Released" and find a spread of food out on the parking deck (provided by previous arrestees & others) plus  rides back to the church parking lot where we'd left our vehicles. All in all, a totally well-organized civil disobedience effort that made it as easy as possible to participate. Who's in for next week? Meet new friends and potentially influence people.

Yesterday, I went to the General Assembly with Carrboro Aldermen Sammy Slade, Damon Seils and Michelle Johnson as well as Chapel Hill Town Councilmember Donna Bell. We went to lawfully and respectfully seek to exercise our State Constitutional rights under Article I, section 12: "The people have a right to assemble together to consult for their common good, to instruct their representatives, and to apply to the General Assembly for redress of grievances." We asked to meet with House Speaker Thom Tillis. We obeyed building rules by not carrying signs or clapping or singing and we were unlawfully and unconstitutionally placed under arrest.We sought to apply to Speaker Tillis for a redress of our grievances about curtailment of voting rights, reductions in public education, the assault on women's right to choose, the undermining of Jordan Lake water quality, the decision not to expand Medicaid, the reduction in unemployment benefits and several other issues of critical concern to the people of North Carolina.If Article I, section 12 does not mean that duly elected local representatives of the people have the right to come to the General Assembly while it is in session and peacefully, quietly and calmly request a meeting with a member of the State House of Representatives, then I have to ask: What does it mean?

I was so proud to see dozens of Orange County residents at yesterday's lawful assembly on Moral Monday. But I would take this conversation a step further. Whereas Mayor Chilton, Aldermen Sammy Slade, Damon Seils, and Michelle Johnson, along with Councilmember Donna Bell and 146 others were illegally and unconstitutionally denied their freedom of assembly, ability to instruct their representatives, and apply for redress, those who knowingly and willfully participating in the curtailing of their Article 1 constitutionally-granted rights are guilty of a crime;And whereas all elected officials in North Carolina are required to take the following oath of office:

"I, _______________, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and maintain the Constitution and laws of the United States, and the Constitution and laws of North Carolina not inconsistent therewith, and that I will faithfully discharge the duties of my office as _______________, so help me God."

And whereas under North Carolina statutes, §14‑230, willfully failing to discharge duties is a punishable crime, to which intentional violation of the state constitution should clearly qualify:

If any clerk of any court of record, sheriff, magistrate, county commissioner, county surveyor, coroner, treasurer, or official of any of the State institutions, or of any county, city or town, shall willfully omit, neglect or refuse to discharge any of the duties of his office, for default whereof it is not elsewhere provided that he shall be indicted, he shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. If it shall be proved that such officer, after his qualification, willfully and corruptly omitted, neglected or refused to discharge any of the duties of his office, or willfully and corruptly violated his oath of office according to the true intent and meaning thereof, such officer shall be guilty of misbehavior in office, and shall be punished by removal therefrom under the sentence of the court as a part of the punishment for the offense.

Therefore, it would be appropriate for the Chapel Hill Town Council and the Carrboro Board of Aldermen to inform the chiefs of police in their respective towns of the well-documented crimes which have been committed, and instruct them to arrest anyone complicit in these crimes, including House Speaker Thom Tillis, to be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor and considered for removal from office, should they enter our jurisdiction.I suspect there may be other laws pertaining to willful failure to uphold the constitution by members of the General Assembly and officers of their institution, and would welcome contributions from anyone more familiar with the appropriate law than I am. 


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