‘We are at war’: Alamance County community organizer addresses his new felony charges, planned protest

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GRAHAM, N.C. — A Triad community organizer says he will not stop fighting for social justice in Alamance County. He plans to march all over Graham encouraging everyone to join his peaceful protest for police and criminal justice reform. 

“We are at war. This has been playing out this entire summer,” explained Rev. Gregory Drumwright during a news conference on Sunday. “We are out here working against racism. We’re braving the cold and COVID-19 to bring down confusion 2020.”  

Confusion unfolded during Drumright’s “I am Change March to the Polls” demonstration at Graham Court Square less than a month ago. 

Alamance County Sheriff’s deputies say it began when a marcher was on courthouse property with a gas can and running a gas-powered generator. This was not allowed. A dispute between organizers and deputies followed, and a type of pepper spray was used on the crowd. 

“We don’t bring militia tactics to this war,” said Drumwright. “We don’t bring guns. We don’t bring chemical weapons to this war as have been used against us.” 

Drumwright and several other marchers were charged with misdemeanors. Now, weeks later, the Alamance County Sheriff’s Department has charged Drumright again. He is facing two felony charges including assault with physical injury on a law enforcement officer and obstructing justice.  

“I am not the first, I am just the latest victim of unjust and unfounded charges,” he said. 

An audio recording of Drumwright was released ahead of his “Ready For Change” peaceful protest planned for Sunday, Nov. 29. In the recording obtained and shared online by the Alamance County Sheriff’s Office, Drumwright can be heard at a community meeting on Nov. 19 saying in part, “What we need to understand is that it’s either, at this point, a march or a riot.” 

Drumwright contends that he was misrepresented in the three-minute recording.

“Several times during my speech I affirmed the use of only peaceful, lawful demonstrations and actions to confront and address racialized policing and government-sanctioned or sponsored white supremacist symbols and conduct,” Drumwright added. 

Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law has filed a lawsuit on Drumright’s behalf against the Alamance County Sheriff Terry Johnson and Graham Police Chief Kristi Cole. The documents state police actions during the “I am Change March to the Polls” violated the constitutional rights of demonstrators.

The Alamance County Sheriff’s Office is aware of the planned march on Nov. 29 and asking demonstrators to follow the law or they may be arrested.

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