• 59°

Agreement means protests over Confederate monument can continue in Burlington

BURLINGTON (AP) — Civil rights groups have settled a dispute with the Alamance County Sheriff’s Office over courthouse protests against a Confederate monument.

The settlement guarantees that the grounds of the old Alamance County Courthouse must remain open to the public to exercise their First Amendment rights, requires the sheriff’s office to acknowledge that swear words are protected speech even if they’re directed at law enforcement officers and also requires sheriff’s employees to undergo racial bias training.

If the Alamance County Sheriff’s Office had followed the U.S. Constitution, the settlement would not have been needed in the first place, said Elizabeth Haddix, managing attorney for the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, in a statement.

The settlement, disclosed on Wednesday, clears up several legal questions that arose during racial justice protests following the death of George Floyd, the Times-News of Burlington reported.

The plaintiffs sued on July 2 after local demonstrators, including Alamance NAACP Chapter President Barrett Brown, felt they were being prevented from exercising their right to assemble and protest.

Brown describes the settlement order as a safeguard for future protests. “This settlement means we shouldn’t have to fear being arrested for protesting that monument or any government policy or practice on the courthouse grounds,” Brown said.

The settlement says demonstrators can use of the courthouse’s North, East, South and West steps, as well as the surrounding lawns and other public spaces. It clarifies that “indecent” words are protected under the First Amendment, an issue that arose after officers arrested several people for using language they deemed too vulgar. And it requires racial bias training in the Alamance County Sheriff’s Office.

In March, the North Carolina chapter of the NAACP filed a lawsuit seeking the removal of the Confederate monument, where protests have intensified following Floyd’s death.

Comments

High School

High school football: Some anxious moments, but Hornets win state title

Local

Photos: Salisbury High Hornets win big in 2AA championship game

Local

County manager outlines projections for the upcoming fiscal year budget, suggests uses for stimulus money

Business

Miami-based Browns Athletic Apparel opens second screen printing location in Salisbury

News

At funeral, fallen Watauga deputies remembered as ‘heroes’

Coronavirus

COVID-19 cluster identified at Granite Quarry Elementary

Coronavirus

More than half of North Carolinians have now taken at least one vaccine shot

Local

City hopes to cover expenses in 2021-22 budget with surplus revenue generated this year

Local

Fallen tree proves to be a blessing for local nonprofit Happy Roots

Local

Quotes of the week

Coronavirus

Health department drops quarantine time from 14 to 10 days

Crime

Blotter: More than $100,000 in property reported stolen from Old Beatty Ford Road site

Local

City fights invasive beetles by injecting trees with insecticide

Local

City names downtown recipients for federal Parks Service grant

China Grove

China Grove Town Council weighs 2021-22 budget priorities, supports buying body cameras

Education

Educators reflect on Teacher Appreciation Week

Education

Livingstone College wins $30,000 Home Depot grant

Education

Shoutouts

News

Shield-A-Badge With Prayer program enters 26th year, accepting volunteers to pair with officers

Education

COVID-19 infection, quarantine numbers in Rowan-Salisbury Schools reach new highs

High School

High school football: Offensive line came together for Hornets, who play for state title tonight

Local

Pro baseball: White makes pro debut and says, ‘It felt amazing to be out there’

Education

West Rowan Middle eighth grader wins investment writing contest

Local

YSUP Rowan invites agencies to participate in youth-focused training