The state targets Black activists who exercise their right to speak and assemble freely. On December 7 the Pitt County, North Carolina prosecutor again continued the case against Dedan Waciuri. He was criminally charged after protesting against police brutality and for the rights of Black people living in Greenville, North Carolina.
After a number of delays and questionable prosecutorial behavior in their attempts to force a plea-deal because of the weakness of their case, Dedan Waciuri, a resident of Greenville, North Carolina is scheduled to be tried December 7th in the city of Greenville on two charges: “damage to government property” and “inciting a riot.” These charges stem from a protest organized in Greenville on May 31, 2020, in relation to the police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and police violence directed at members of the Black community in general.
The Black Alliance for Peace (BAP), a national anti-war and human rights organization believes that the charges against Dedan, a member of BAP’s Coordinating Committee, are a blatant attempt to send a message to the Black communities in Eastern North Carolina that resistance to oppression and the fight for human rights will result in confronting the full weight of the power of the state.
According to Ajamu Baraka, internationally recognized human rights activist and spokesperson for BAP, “It is no accident that Dedan is one of over thirteen thousand activists arrested across the country during the anti-police violence demonstrations sparked by the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. The response to those protests across the country resulted in massive human rights violations by U.S. authorities. Therefore, it is not ironic but consistent, that Dedan is facing imprisonment for defending the collective human rights of his community and people three days before International Human Rights Day.”
Activists and human rights organizations from around the country have been contacting the Pitt County prosecutors demanding that they stop the charade and drop the charges against Dedan.
Background to Governmental repression targeting Black activists:
Domestic political repression is considered by many to be a relic of the past with examples like the FBI’s COINTELPRO, but it continues to this day as a valuable tool of the state to attack liberatory movements.
There are also numerous changes and attempted changes in state laws across the country with the intent to criminalize protest and silence dissent. In May of this year, the NC House of Representatives attempted to pass HB 805, a measure that would impose harsh penalties for protesters who are charged with “rioting.”
In Greenville and other communities in Eastern North Carolina, police and other state agencies have continuously made targets out of activists who speak up for Black lives. Dedan’s case is the city’s response to a community organizer and the people’s democratic rights to speech, resistance, and justice.