by Herbert L. White
Special to the NNPA from The Charlotte Post
The N.C. NAACP is encouraging Moral Monday defendants to decide if they want to have their day in court.
Wake County District Attorney Colon Willoughby is offering to drop civil disobedience charges against more than 900 defendants if they pay $180 in court costs, admit wrongdoing and complete 25 hours of community service. The NAACP, which launched Moral Mondays to protest the state’s right-leaning legislative tilt, is offering pro bono legal representation for anyone who wants it.
“We understand and endorse the moral and political power that over 940 people might bring to their communities from doing the community service,” NAACP President Rev. William Barber said. “But we do not support the extracting of admissions of wrongdoing and the payment of a ransom in the form of court costs for engaging in actions that are clearly protected by our Constitution.”
The NAACP and 150 other progressive groups protested throughout the legislative sessions, citing a constitutional right to gather at the General Assembly. Willoughby’s office cites the potential to overwhelm the court docket as the reason to offer deals.
The N.C. NAACP has the greatest respect, love and gratitude for each of the Moral Monday defendants, whatever their choice,” Barber said. “We believe is a win-win situation. Some will fight in the courts and challenge the injustice occurring in the General Assembly. Some will serve and spread love rather than the hate-filled rhetoric and politics of the regressive legislators.”