Photo by Ben McKeown
The Reverend William Barber
The Reverend William J. Barber Jr. will remain barred from the General Assembly while a second-degree trespassing charge is pending, unless a judge authorizes his return, court records show.
In a Wednesday hearing at the Wake County Justice Center, District Court Judge Michael J. Dennis upheld parts of a May 30 order that barred civil rights leader Barber, fifty-three, from the General Assembly. The ruling came after a hearing in which Barber and others asked that the conditions of their release—not returning to the legislative building—be modified.
"Defendant shall not to [sic] return to the North Carolina Legislative Building for the pendency of this action, or further order of the undersigned," the order, signed by Dennis, reads.
"He did find that the pretrial release petition was overly broad," says Geeta Kapur, Barber's lawyer. "We are going to appeal."
Barber and four additional demonstrators—Kojo Nantambu, Ana Maria Blackburn, Michael McLean, and Perri Morgan—also covered by Dennis's order, were arrested May 30 at 16 West Jones Street while protesting health care measures. A Wake County magistrate ordered the defendants not to return, as detailed in a letter sent to Barber by former Raleigh mayor Paul Coble, now the legislative services officer.
Kapur has called the conditions of Barber's release a violation of the presumption of innocence in his case and of his First Amendment right to petition for redress of grievances
Barber, for twelve years the state director of the NAACP, is a principal of the nationwide People's Campaign. He is scheduled to return to court July 31, records show.