FROM STAFF REPORTS

Iredell County officials will no longer allow demonstrations on county property between the hours of 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. on weekdays and at any time on weekends, following weeks of protests in front of the Iredell County Government Center in Statesville.

County Manager Beth Jones announced the policy change on Friday, explaining that recent protests related to calls to remove the Confederate monument on the grounds of the Government Center have become “more violent.”

“Over  the past several weeks Iredell County property has been the location of several protests,” Jones said in a news release. “Such protests began as a peaceful demonstration of free speech but have turned into more violent protests, which have resulted in physical assaults and arrests.

Jones explained that enforcement is necessary “in order to protect the health, safety and welfare of not only the protestors but the citizens, businesses, law enforcement and visitors to our community.”

Iredell County will enforce Iredell County Ordinance Chapter 10.5 – Public Property. Violation of the ordinance is a misdemeanor.

In addition, NC General Statute 14-288.4 Disorderly Conduct and NC General Statute 14-277.2 Weapons at Parades, etc. (Demonstrations), Prohibited will also be strictly enforced up to and including arrest by local law enforcement agencies.

Chapter 10.5 – PUBLIC PROPERTY
Sec. 10.5-1. – Title.
This chapter shall be known as the “Public Property Ordinance.”
(Ord. of 12-7-99)

Sec. 10.5-2. – Definitions.
County manager. The “county manager” shall mean the person appointed by the Iredell County Board of Commissioners as manager (acting, interim, or permanent) of Iredell County.
Facility. “Facility” shall mean any building, structure, or improvement owned by or leased by Iredell County or otherwise under its dominion or control. Facility manager. The “facility manager” shall mean the person designated by the county manager as the person in charge of any facility or property of Iredell County, which person shall have the authority to grant permission for the use of said facility or property, to persons other than employees or officials of Iredell County.
Property. “Property” shall mean any property owned or leased by Iredell County or otherwise under its dominion or control.
(Ord. of 12-7-99)

Sec. 10.5-3. – Time restrictions for county property and facilities; authority; exceptions.
(a) It shall be unlawful for any person to trespass or to be on or upon any property of facility between the hours of six o’clock p.m. and six o’clock a.m. on any weekday and between six o’clock p.m. on Friday and six o’clock a.m. on Monday without written permission of the county manager or the facility manager.
(b) The county manager shall be in charge of all property and facilities. The county manager may designate a person or persons to be in charge of each facility (the facility manager).
(c) This chapter shall not apply to (i) county employees or officials in the discharge of their duties; (ii) persons in attendance at a meeting sponsored by a governmental, civil, or non-profit agency for which the facility manager shall have given permission to use the property or facility; (iii) any other person with permission from either the county manager or the facility manager.
(Ord. of 12-7-99)

Sec. 10.5-4. – Failure to leave.
It shall be unlawful for any person to fail to leave any property or facility after having been asked to leave by the acting facility manager.
(Ord. of 12-7-99)

Sec. 10.5-5. – Facility rules and regulations.
It shall be unlawful for any person to violate any rule or regulation pertaining to any property or facility, including but not limited to rules or regulations pertaining to hours and places of parking vehicles, use of parking lots or parking areas, use of buildings, and littering upon grounds or in buildings.
(Ord. of 12-7-99)

Sec. 10.5-6. – Prohibited activities.
It shall be unlawful for any person to use any property or facility other than areas designated in public parks for that purpose for skateboarding, roller blading, skating (in-line or otherwise), congregating, playing of music, biking (motorized or self-propelled), or staging, playing, or participating in any game.
(Ord. of 12-7-99)

Sec. 10.5-7. – Loitering on county property or facilities.
It shall be unlawful for any person to loaf, lounge, or loiter near, on or about the parking or sidewalk areas of any property or facility. Nothing herein shall be construed, however, as prohibiting those with lawful business at any property or facility from attending to such business, and this chapter shall not apply to persons with lawful business upon any property or facility.

Sec. 10.5-8. – Penalty.
Violation of any provision of Chapter 10.5 is a misdemeanor and is punishable as provided in section 1-7(a) and (b) of Chapter 1 of the Iredell County Code.
(Ord. of 12-7-99)

17 thoughts on “Iredell County officials take action to limit protests on grounds of Iredell County Government Center

  1. Joe W. Jones says:

    I support this decision. This is what a county manager should do. If the larger cities had done this, there would not have been any riots and destruction. It is good to see our officials take a stand.

  2. John Lindley says:

    I applaud the city for dealing with the protesters in a logical and reasonable way. As a former Statesville police officer, I can see the problems that may arise, however, if the rules are not strictly enforced without fail in every occurrence, the city will lose the respect of its citizens, and violence will explode in this city the way it has in many other cities. Police officers should be on constant alert for strangers and instigators. I love this town. I was born and raised here, and if called for, I WILL defend it

    Thank you
    John Lindley

  3. Brian Summers,Statesville Native says:

    During the Civil Rights Demonstrations of the 60’s Civil Disobedience was a learned tact used by Dr. king and others. There goal was to bring awareness to injustice. They did it with studying the local jurisdictions laws, never making the cause about them but the injustices. Both sides have a right to be heard and a mutual respect of rights should be observed.

    Now maybe some conversations around solutions can take place.
    We live in one world and this is the greatest country. Let us lead by being an example. It can’t just be one-sided. Compromise is leadership.

    • Frank Johnson says:

      That is the same excuse white people have made forever to protect their racist beliefs. “It is not time”, “We should wait”, “This can not be solved overnight”. This is the government putting down the right of citizens to protest. No justice = no peace!
      Bryan, this decision is one sided. Your opinion is capitulation, pure and simple.

      • James Gibson says:

        No one has the right to inflict violence on another. To do so is the opposite of a peaceful demonstration. This is why the Iredell County Officials stepped in. Talking does not involve assaulting.

  4. I appreciate Iredell County taking a stand and recognizing all of the citizens that call Iredell County home. By not allowing protesters
    to overthrow the civility and safety of this community is to be commended. Thank you for protecting this community and all who reside within by enforcing this ordinance.

  5. I’m pleased that we have a county manager who is being proactive in addressing this situation to prevent it from becoming what we’ve seen in Portland, Seattle, and other cities who have lost their way.

  6. Peaceful protesting has been happening most of the 50 days that the group has been protesting. The self proclaimed militia groups starting coming out with Ak15s and other assault weapons.

    I have personally withnessed several instances where intigators from out of the state have shown up to antagonize and instigate fights. Of course they are going to tell a different story. Please go watch the videos on my FB page. Videos do not not lie. Rest in Peace, George Floyd. #videosarethekey. We just want respect. Is that too much to ask in 2020 in Iredell County? That statue and those flags a purely symbols of hate. No better than a swastika. God is not pleased.

    Kimberly Wasson

  7. The order states no loitering on county property including sidewalks πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™€οΈ But when I rode by last night on my way home from work there were more than 25 people..:some standing on the sidewalk and even some on the grassy area? Does the ordinance just apply to one side?

  8. Donna McMillen says:

    The center square is a very dangerous place for a protest. I almost got hit just trying to go through the intersection last night on my way home from work.

  9. As a city councilman, I voted to allow Lakeside Park be renamed MLK Park. I did this to try and help Statesville to overcome the strife in this country. I did this because several black friends supported it. I wanted to give them something that would unite us. Now when I look at the Confederate monument, I think of my g grandfather wounded and crippled at Gettysburg. My g uncle who enlisted at age 17 and died at Fort Fisher of pneumonia because he had no shoes. They arrived two weeks later. The monument is about people, not the cause. People, lets get on to more important issues. If this monument comes down, what purpose does that serve your cause other than make me regret my decision to rename the park?

    • Brian Summers says:

      Roy, you are my friend and yes it was courageous for you to stand at a moment when African-Americans asked your help to make a little part of our community whole. From day one, I have said the statue represents a historical part of our country and should serve as a teachable moment. Roy, you are further correct and I wish as much effort was given to Education, Public Safety, Living Wage, Housing,
      I have offered in my opinion a way forward to my hometown of which I am very proud. I will continue to shine the best light possible in Statesville.

  10. John Koppelmeyer says:

    If our county and city officials would spend the same amount of time and resources to figure out a long range solution to this problem that they’re spending to manage and control protests this issue could be solved that would be a compromise for all concerned. I doubt adding more controls is going to make this issue go away. My guess it’s just going to bring more outside attention. Probably when some young people are videotaped being arrested and the whole world sees it.

  11. Alexander Alden says:

    How unfortunate, to have brainwashed a whole portion of society into believing that exercising our first amendment rights is something worth being arrested for. Shame on them all, we wouldn’t even have our bill of rights without assembly and protest. Wake up and realize what actually makes America great.

  12. Barbara Davidson says:

    I am pleased that the county has taken a stand because I have been afraid that someone would get hurt or killed. The situation got to the point of being ineffective. However, the violence did not began with the BLM group. It began when opposers began using scare tactics to get rid of the peaceful protesters. My hope is that this city and county administration will not sweep this under the rug and try to move on. There needs to be fair discussions with both groups to resolve this issue so we can move forward. We all must work together to make this community a happy place. That may require some give and take on all of our parts.

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