Occupy Winston-Salem protester gets probation
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — An Occupy Winston-Salem protester arrested last year as Winston-Salem police broke up the group’s meeting outside City Hall pleaded guilty Tuesday to disorderly conduct.
The lawyer for William Bryant Bridge, 21, of Summit Street, told the judge in Forsyth District Court that her client had a First Amendment right to protest at City Hall. Forsyth District Judge Roland Hayes replied that Bridge had a right to “occupy” jail.
But Bridge won’t spend any time behind bars. Hayes gave Bridge a suspended 45-day jail sentence and placed him on unsupervised probation for 18 months. Bridge also was ordered to pay court costs.
Bridge was arrested Dec. 20 after cursing during a tirade against police and walking down the sidewalk. Winston-Salem police moved to arrest him, and Bridge was pinned against a wall and subdued. Police charged Bridge with disorderly conduct and resisting a public officer.
As part of a plea arrangement, Bridge pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct. Assistant District Attorney Milind Dongre voluntarily dismissed the charge of resisting a public officer.