Reporter Jailed for “Unlawful Assembly” During Protest at North Carolina Capitol

By Story of America Team

Tim Funk is the Faith and Values Reporter for The Charlotte Observer. He was assigned to cover “Moral Monday” on June 10, when members of the clergy led hundreds of people into the North Carolina General Assembly to protest voting restrictions and other policies they say will adversely affect the poor, children, the working class, and the middle class.

During the moments before Tim’s arrest, there were a series of warnings from Chief Jeff Weaver of the General Assembly police. There was a lot of noise in the room, and the bull horn was most audible when pointed directly at us. It is possible Tim did not hear the final warning. From our vantage point(s), it looked as if Tim was the second person arrested, out of a reported total of 89. The charges include failing to disperse from an “unlawful assembly.”

The golden doors that you see toward the end of the video lead to the state senate chamber. On the opposite side of the circle is the state house chamber.

Nearly 400 people have been arrested in the North Carolina General Assembly since April 29, when 17 people, mostly clergy, were arrested as part of a civil disobedience campaign led by Rev. Dr. William Barber and the North Carolina NAACP.

As reported by Tim’s own newspaper, The Charlotte Observer:

Funk, who was wearing Charlotte Observer identification, was handcuffed and taken along with the arrested protesters to the Wake County magistrate’s office to be arraigned on misdemeanor charges of trespassing and failure to disperse.

Jeff Weaver, police chief for the General Assembly Police in Raleigh who oversaw the arrests, told The Associated Press that Funk did not heed a warning from officers to disperse before the arrests began.

Funk had earlier written about the weekly protests from Charlotte. Monday was his first live coverage of the event in Raleigh. He was released at about 11 p.m.

“We believe there was no reason to detain him,” said Cheryl Carpenter, Observer managing editor. “He wasn’t there to do anything but report the story, to talk to Charlotte clergy. He was doing his job in a public place.”