Rocky Mount Councilman Andre Knight was one of seven Moral Monday protestors found not guilty of trespassing charges Wednesday in N.C. District Court in Raleigh.
The charges stemmed from a June 12 “Witness Wednesday” protest at the Legislative Building in Raleigh, named in honor of the 50th anniversary of the assassination of slain civil rights leader Medgar Evers.
“The state never offered any evidence on who the owner of the property is that the defendants were allegedly trespassing on,” said John McWilliam, attorney for the defendants. “I think we, the people, own the legislative building and therefore cannot be considered trespassers.”
The defendants were among more than 920 people arrested between April and August outside the N.C. General Assembly chambers during protests of the Republican-controlled legislature’s policies.
“We live in perilous times when our elected leaders seek to imprison and prosecute law-abiding citizens in order to suppress their right to free speech,” Knight said. “I am glad that the courts have exonerated me and my peers today for being bold and courageous.
“I am proud that I had the chance to lift my voice along with white, black, young, old, rich, poor and middle class citizens last June to serve as a witness that justice is still alive in the Old North State.”