Andre Knight (R), Attorney John McWilliam (L)
Photo by The DCN taken at the NAACP Humanitarian Awards Banquet. Knight received the John McClean Award.
Click on photo for more information.
March 5, 2014
Contact: Rev. Andre’ D. Knight, President
ANDRE KNIGHT FOUND NOT GUILTY IN STATE TRESPASSING CHARGES
RALEIGH, NC –Andre’ Knight, President of the Rocky Mount Branch of the NAACP, was found not guilty today of trespassing charges brought against him by the State of North Carolina for acts of civil disobedience last summer. Knight said. “This is what democracy looks like. We live in perilous times when our elected leaders seek to imprison and prosecute law abiding citizens in order to suppress their right to free speech. I am glad that the courts have exonerated me and my peers today for being bold and courageous.” Knight, along with several other individuals, were protesting in the General Assembly building on Jones Street on June, 12, 2013 when they were arrested by General Assembly police. This protest was named Witness Wednesday to honor the 50th anniversary of the assassination of slain civil rights leader, Medgar Evers.
John McWilliam, attorney for the defense and partner in a Raleigh and Garner law firm, McWilliam, Henderson and Wall, commented, “It was a pleasure representing people whose actions I saw on the video that made me feel proud. The judge found all seven of the Wednesday Witness defendants not guilty. The State never offered any evidence on who the owner of the property is that the defendants were allegedly trespassing on. I think we, the people, own the legislative building and therefore cannot be considered trespassers. What was also very apparent in the trial is that Chief Weaver has the unfettered discretion to decide when behavior becomes a crime and when it doesn’t.”
President Knight stated, “I am thankful that there are people of reason throughout the state of North Carolina and the entire nation that are hearing our objections to the tyranny that flows from Raleigh to the rest of the state. I am proud that I had the chance to lift my voice along with white, black, young, old, rich, poor and middle class citizens last June to serve as a witness that justice is still alive in the Old North State. We all owe a huge debt of gratitude to our attorney, along with the other attorneys, that represented us and the more than 900 Moral Monday defendants because they believed in our cause.”