Protesters, Marchers Take To The Streets Across The Region

Sep 27, 2020

File photo of a Black Lives Matter billboard on Tryon Road in Raleigh's Southside.
Credit Kate Medley / For WUNC

Raleigh police arrested 12 people during protest activity in the capitol city Saturday night.

The evening began when several hundred people gathered in Nash Square to peacefully speak out against the decision in Kentucky to not prosecute three police officers directly for the death of Breonna Taylor. It was followed by a march through Raleigh streets that included numerous incidents of broken windows and other vandalism.

In a press conference Sunday morning, Raleigh Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin said most of those who perpetrated the destructive acts were white.

"I am urging our community not to judge the peaceful protestors who came to Raleigh last night with an agenda of destruction," Baldwin said. "For those who want peace, we are here. We want to hear you and we want to work with you." 

For those who want peace, we are here. We want to hear you and we want to work with you. -Raleigh Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin

The 12 people arrested were charged with resisting arrest, public disturbance and unlawful assembly, and obstruction of justice. One person was charged with assault on a government official.

Police Chief Cassandra Deck-Brown said more arrests are likely as authorities review events that were captured on video.

"We have to be strategic when we are making those arrests," said Deck-Brown. "That's to ensure the safety of our officers but also to ensure the safety of – there were people who were downtown who were milling about last night because they just wanted to be downtown and this group decided to take steps to do otherwise."

Several posts on social media from marchers claimed aggressive tactics by police led to the clashes and arrests.

"I don't think ... violence is always the key, but sometimes it's the only way to be heard," Sydney Gunter, a peaceful protestor, told WRAL-TV.

Also on Saturday, the Orange County Republican Party hosted a 'Trump Train' that started in Hillsborough and looped to Mebane. About 25 people protested against the caravan as it drove through downtown Hillsborough. And to the west, in Graham, about 200 anti-racist protesters and a smaller group of pro-Confederate supporters clashed around the city's Confederate Monument Saturday night.

The anti-racist marchers also singled out Alamance County Sheriff Terry Johnson with chants of "Hey hey, ho ho, Terry Johnson’s got to go."

Numerous videos posted to social media over several months have shown Sheriff Johnson appearing to be friendly with and protective of neo-Confederates, a charge that his spokesperson has denied.

Media reports, including from the Triad City Beat, stated that it was the largest event in Graham since mid-summer.

WXII TV reported that at least seven people were arrested in connection with the march in Graham.