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Greensboro police arrested six black protestors and charged them with violating a North Carolina statute, called  “Weapons at Parades Etc. Prohibited,” after previously allowing three armed white men to roam freely in the city, according to the Triad City Beat

  • Greensboro police spokesperson Ronald Glenn told TCB “that the arrests of the six black protesters on Tuesday came after the department became aware that people were carrying weapons in the vicinity of the protests and researched the statute.”

“After clarifying the ordinance around weapons related to protests, yes, [the officers] felt those individuals fell within the purview of the ordinance. There have been individuals who have been armed close to and in proximity to the protests the past few days, and the department received clarification on the ordinance and decided to pursue charges.”

  • However, TCB reported that three white men “showed up armed with handguns and rifles while wearing paramilitary gear at the protests on the first three nights while making violent posts on Facebook” but have so far avoided similar charges.
  • One of the men, Greensboro native Jason Passmore, has been active with the Stokes County Militia. The group’s executive officer, Brandal T. Payne, has been identified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a member of the white supremacist group Identity Dixie. 
  • SPLC senior research analyst Howard Graves said Passmore’s activism fits “within the umbrella of militant, anti-government extremism.”
  • Passmore expressed in a Facebook post that he and his group were “all armed with handguns (concealed carry)” on the first day of protests.
  • The North Carolina statute prohibits both protestors and spectators from carrying weapons at any form of protest or parade. 
  • Graves added, “I think this evidences the exact fundamental problems with policing that have led to these protests.”
  • The report noted that local law enforcement in North Carolina have a long history of “turning a blind eye to right-wing actors carrying firearms at demonstrations.”

Passmore appears to have an obvious bias against the Black Lives Matter movement and the largely peaceful demonstrations happening in cities across the United States, despite telling TCB that “We need to push the looters and protesters toward the enemy not towards local private business.” 

A number of Facebook posts illustrate Passmore’s bias against the movement. Last October, Passmore made a Facebook post decrying “communist bastards” in the town of Greensboro, according to the report. 

Graves noted that the term “communist” goes far beyond political ideology when used in this context. “I think this evidences the exact fundamental problems with policing that have led to these protests. It’s a stalking horse for basically any group that’s deemed to be a political adversary. They will talk about Black Lives Matter in the same way. White supremacists consider Black Lives Matter to be part of a communist plot.”

It is unclear whether Passmore will be charged for violating the statute at this time. 

Read the full report here.