‘Violence and destruction are not the answer’; Alamance County deputies issue statement after hearing concerning comments before local protester’s news conference

North Carolina

ALAMANCE COUNTY, N.C. — Alamance County deputies issued a statement after concerns arose over a men’s comments in front of a live microphone at a Graham news conference.

Thursday afternoon, Rev. Gregory Drumwright was set to speak at a press conference at the J.B. Allen Courthouse in Graham before his 2 p.m. bond modification hearing.

Before the press conference began, people were standing near the microphone.

Over the microphone, a man was heard saying, “If they better understand before they try to ban him, is that Pastor Drumwright is the peacemaker. He’s holding back, not holding back, but he’s subduing a lot of young activists that want to do other things. So if you take him away you’re leaving room for some of us to come in and really shake some s*** up, alright, okay? Alright. Cause if we come shake s*** up the way we want to, we coming with some pieces. Right. And we follow Drumwright’s lead, you may want to keep him here. It’ll help y’all. It will be in their best interest to keep him here so that other young activists will follow him, ’cause we’re tired of marching at this point, you know what I mean?”

The sheriff’s office say multiple concerned people have reached out to the sheriff’s office regarding those comments.

The Alamance Sheriff’s Office intel staff identified the speaker as Regis Kishon Green who was
charged with failure to disperse on Oct. 31 and resisting a law enforcement officer, disorderly conduct in a public building, and disruption of an official meeting on Nov. 16.

“The sheriff’s office will continue to monitor and share any credible threats of violence from anyone
with our community,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement. “While we continue to support peaceful demonstrators, we want to remind everyone that violence and destruction are not the answer.”

The news conference comes after a string of protests in Graham.

In October, Drumwright organized the “I am Change: March to the Polls” rally that ended with pepper spray, arrests and charges for several people including two felony charges for himself.

The protests have continue. The lastest took place on Sunday afternoon as hundreds of protestors marched through the streets of Graham with organizers calling for police and criminal justice reform in Alamance County.

Drumwright led demonstrators during the three-hour event. Marchers were told to socially distance, wear a mask and stay on the sidewalks or close to the road since Drumwright didn’t have a permit from the city. 

“What do we want? Change. When do we want it? Now,” chanted marchers while leaving the starting point at Children’s Chapel United Church. 

“Change is here. We’re making a change by being in these streets marching and protesting,” said Michael Harris, who marched alongside Drumwright. 

“I stopped from work to do this because I have kids, five of them, and they could be a Breonna Taylor, Tamir Rice, a Trayvon Martin,” said Harris. 

He said community members have been shut out of conversations for reform with law enforcement leaders. Meanwhile, marchers were met with sheriff’s deputies outside the building.   

“We demand an apology,” said Drumwright. “All you sheriffs that are standing by, if it was your sons, daughters, you’d want an apology too.” 

“In these meetings that we’re not in, people need to speak up and speak out about racism,” added Harris. “We want to show our love and we want the love given back to us.” 

Counter-protesters spoke out too during the final stop along the march in Graham’s Court Sqaure. Graham police officers intervened in several heated exchanges.   

“We didn’t have a racist problem then,” said one counter-protestor who did not wish to share their name with FOX8. “There’s not a racist problem now, but you got people that create race problems.” 

Graham police and the Alamance County Sheriff’s Office report no arrests during the march. This is one of many protests this year sparked by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Demonstrators have focused on issues like police brutality, voting rights and the Alamance County Confederate monument. 

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