BLM pastor found not guilty on appeal of Alamance County protest charges

Julia Wall/

An Alamance County jury acquitted a pastor and Black Lives Matter activist on a misdemeanor charge Monday that followed a 2020 march to the polls where police peppered sprayed participants.

The Rev. Gregory Drumwright organized a march to the polls on Oct. 31, 2020, which coincided with the last day to register to vote in the 2020 election.

People across the United States and abroad viewed video of Alamance County sheriff deputies and Graham police pepper spraying marchers, including children, who were participating in the “I Am Change” march.

Law enforcement officials have said they used the pepper spray in response to unpermitted loitering in the street and Drumwright’s use of a gas-powered generator on the grounds of the historic courthouse.

Protesters said it was an excessive use of force on peaceful marchers. Among them was Drumwright, an Alamance County native and a founder of Justice 4 Next Generation, a Greensboro-based group advocating for racial equity.

After a trial in September 2021, a judge found Drumwright guilty of two misdemeanors: failing to disperse at law enforcement’s command and resisting, delaying or obstructing an officer.

Drumwright appealed the convictions to Alamance County Superior Court. A judge dismissed the failure to disperse charge. A jury acquitted him of the resisting, delaying or obstructing an officer charge on Monday.

Alamance County District Attorney Sean Boone declined to comment on the verdict, saying he is preparing for a murder trial and he “doesn’t even recall the case.”

“We hope Drumwright’s case will serve as a guide for law enforcement to consider as it encounters other peaceful demonstrations,” states a media release sent out by Justice 4 the Next Generation.

Three related civil rights lawsuits have been settled, according to the statement.