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Thursday, September 23, 2021

Protestors return to Graham one month after police confrontation

By Cash Michaels, Peacemaker Senior Contributor / December 2, 2020

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NAACP Pres. Rev. Dr. T. Anthony Spearman and Rev. Greg Drumwright join protestors chanting they are “Ready for Change.” The people gathered marched to the county courthouse, Sheriff’s office, Graham police headquarters, and the county detention center, demanding criminal justice reform.
Photo by Ivan Saul Cutler/Carolina Peacemaker.

A month after police and sheriff’s deputies confronted them with pepper spray during an otherwise peaceful “March to the Polls,” protestors, again led by Greensboro pastor Rev. Greg Drumwright and Justice 4 the Next Generation, along with members of Alamance Alliance for Justice, returned to Graham in Alamance County Sunday to demonstrate against police brutality.

More than one hundred protestors, who did not have a permit to march so they couldn’t legally block roads, also demanded that both Alamance County Sheriff Terry Johnson and Graham Police Chief Kristy Cole resign because of the pepper spray incident by their officers. The incident drew national attention.

Law enforcement officials said the pepper spray was necessary to move kneeling marchers who were blocking the street around the Confederate statue in front of the courthouse downtown. Marchers counter that they were given no warning before officers moved in. Several marchers have been charged, and a lawsuit has been filed against both the sheriffs’ and police departments as a result.

Last Sunday was different, however. Officers did not escort the protestors during their three-hour march through Graham, though they did watch them closely.

With state NAACP Pres. Rev. Dr. T. Anthony Spearman joining them, the protestors, chanting that they were “Ready for Change,” marched to the county courthouse, Sheriff’s office, Graham police headquarters, and the county detention center, demanding criminal justice reform.

Through it all, Rev. Drumwright reemphasized that the rally and march would be peaceful, even if provoked by counter-demonstrators who met protestors at the Courthouse Square, who openly challenged them on their opposition to the Confederate Statue there.

“We come together to gain justice for the next generation, we don’t fight for ourselves we fight for our children and our grandchildren,” Rev. Drumwright told the marchers.

Even though there were some harsh words exchanged at some points, Black Lives Matter marchers stepped in to calm things down, and make sure that things ended peacefully.




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