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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Members of Occupy Wilmington have gone from the streets to the steps of City Hall and, as recently as yesterday, behind bars. Shelby Lentz, 16, was arrested after police ordered the group off of the City Hall lawn. Other occupiers say they just want their rights back.

Some members of Occupy Wilmington have spent the past couple of weeks trying to get their camping equipment back on the lawn at City Hall. Monday their lawyer received notice that their request for a permit was denied by the city. Now the group is looking into its options.

“We can appeal to City Council, and maybe they will pass a motion allowing us to encamp on City Hall lawn. Several cities have done that for their occupations,” Occupy Wilmington member Denny Best said.

Best has been part of Occupy Wilmington since its inception. He says he is in charge of the group’s effort to get a permit to sleep on the City Hall lawn. He says all options are open, including possibly getting an injunction against the city.

The city says its decision was based on a current ordinance and multiple safety reasons.

“The facilities are not lighted. They aren’t manned 24/7. We’re really not set up to be equipped to ensure public safety at night, because the parks are not designed for that. They are designed for day-time use,” city spokeswoman Malissa Talbert said.

Early Monday morning members of the group were asked to leave the lawn after police found them sleeping there again. Police arrested Lentz when he refused to leave.

“They threatened to arrest anyone who did not leave, and I was the one who was vocal with my opinion and asked everyone, ‘Are we going to walk away?'” Lentz told WWAY last night. “That’s when they were not happy with me any longer, and I continued to ask them questions in a respectful manner, and they still wanted to escalate the situation to an arrest.”

Both Lentz and best believe that the city is taking away their constitutional right to assembly and free speech.

“We want to be able to be a visible presence in the city hall lawn 24/7, and without the ability to camp, it’s almost impossible to do that,” Best said.

Occupy Wilmington will decide how they will combat the latest city restriction at its next General Assembly meeting.

The group’s next picket will be Thursday in Monkey Junction.

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15 Comments on "Occupy Wilmington explores options to set up camp at City Hall"

2015 years 10 months ago

If the people of the wilmington occupy group are so interested in safety,peace,harmony and justice-ask them why so many people are dropping out of their group,including women,for feeling unsafe. you won’t get an honest answer,but maybe it’s about time someone started asking that group-who uses any cause it can get it’s hands on to make itself look good,what really goes on inside of it before trusting any of their claims of wanting protection for anyone. here we have a group who says it’s for the people,who cannot and will not even protect the people in it’s own group(they had the funds to help put towards this young mans bail and decided not to use it) and make’s members speak under a veil of privacy so no outsiders will know what really goes on. so to come on this website or any other,or go on tv and talk about justice,peace or harmony is hypocritical at best,disgusting at worst. wilmington needs to know what this group is REALLY all about.

2015 years 10 months ago

You failed to identify in the story.

2015 years 10 months ago

Why call people names? Is your vocabulary so limited that you have to go on a semi-coherent rant about a 16 year old. Don’t be such a condescending know-it-all. You are the loser that sits here pontificating every day about everything. You are a legend in your own mind.

2015 years 10 months ago

You were told to leave and you didn’t. instead, you stood there and ran your mouth. The police didn’t “escalate” anything. They did exactly what YOU asked them to do via your actions.

Good God, do you weasels take ANY responsibility for your pitiful, meaningless, loser lives, or is EVERYTHING someone else’s fault?

2015 years 10 months ago

Common, I could not agree more! Perhaps if they got off their a** and got a job, they wouldn’t be complaining so much about the sad state of the economy.

I know one thing is absolutely for sure…if given the chance to switch places with say the CEO of Goldman Sachs…not ONE of the occupy protestors would say no!

US Citizen
2015 years 10 months ago

(prob get flamed by the lefties for this)
I’m sick of hearing all the occupy (insert city name here) groups saying their Constitutional Rights/ Freedom of Speach & Assembly are being violated by not being allowed to camp on public property that has been designated as parks or public spaces. The Constitution only states that citizens have the right to gather in protest and/ or speak out against the government. That the Congress shall make no laws abridging those rights.
All the impacted cities have rules for said parks and public spaces and those rules were put in place long before the occupiers came along. The simple fact that cities allowed these groups to be there does not give them the right to stay there, sleep there and/ or prevent others to use said space. Which, by the simple fact they are camping there prevents others from using those spaces. Therefor these groups are stomping on the rights of others to use property paid for and maintained by fellow citizen’s tax dollars and. (GASP) the donations of businesses.
As far as the dude being arrested:
The simple fact that he refused an order from a duly sworn in officer of the law – paid for by ALL taxpayers to protect ALL taxpayers – and refused to leave made him guilty of resisting arrest.
So, follow the rules, stop the partying (that’s aimed at the larger groups who bring in DJs and bands) stop screaming that your rights are bring violated and just maybe you might be taken seriously.

2015 years 10 months ago

USCITIZEN – I do not think anyone could have said it better than you did. Thank You!!

Guest Sterling
2015 years 10 months ago

I hear the complaining of those who see the wall street movement as an annoyance the real annoyance is the massive corruption in government going on all around us. There was has a 5,000,000 short fall in Wilmington where the money go who was held accountable? You hear silly responses like get a job wake up your government has sent all the jobs overseas and have allowed illegals to come in and take American jobs and cut wages in half. Many of the people who are writing in believe Americans don’t want to work, please wake up. haven’t you noticed that nothing is made in America anymore. Those are American jobs gone forever That’s because of a government that no longer cares for the working class but only the elite class. Look at the bail outs another scam that the citizens end up paying for and look who benefited. The Wall Street movement is sounding the alarm but to many of us refuse to wake up.

To many of us are hung up on talk show host that get paid to continue the illusion of the right vs. left foolishness when the truth is there is no difference. Here is a home work lesson for you guys and gals pull up the voting record of Newt Gingrich who has become the RNc’s man if that doesn’t snap you back into reality nothing will.


2015 years 10 months ago

I’m so glad this movement is finally losing steam. Its loosely formed, without a clear message and without a clear goal.

2015 years 10 months ago

You, “Common” of all people to accuse another writer of mis-use of hyperbole??? Just because you economically “got yours” doesn’t mean that others aren’t suffering from hard times or may be victimized by corporate wrongdoing. You have continued to insult and demean others despite their having jobs and businesses and participating in “Occupy”. Your repetitive litany of predictable insults is tiresome.

Be vewwy vewwy caweful…. there could be socialists burrowing under your house wight now twying to steal what you got…… See ya’ on the funny pages, Mr. Fudd.

2015 years 10 months ago

You failed to show any examples of “predatory lending,” so let’s see if you can come up with some examples of “corporate wrongdoing.”

…or do you only specialize in empty rhetoric?

2015 years 10 months ago

Wow, kudos to the big brave city cop who cuffed a 16 year old! City Hall, dig into your budget, spend a quarter and buy yourselves a clue. Roughing up Occupy folks is really making you look good to their supporters. I can understand that some of your law enforcement may be a little hyped up, seeing that they are so effective and energetic in controlling the problems of drunks, drugs and downtown gangs that they may over-react to these occupy folks.

This paraphrase is mis-attributed to Gandhi. I read it on some other blog about the Occupy movement and it really does ring more true than the vitriolic insults pitched in your direction by some of your opponents. First they ignore you, then they insult you, then they fight you, then you win.

A little more than fifty years ago, four African American men sat down at a whites’ only lunch counter here in this state! According to accounts written at that time, these men weren’t exactly greeted with warmth and hospitality.

Your Occupy movement isn’t dying… it’s only starting!

2015 years 10 months ago

Thanks for the hyperbole. (Over-the-top, nonsensical rhetoric really helps your cause.) He was arrested, period, end of sentence. No one was “roughed up.” Stop lying.

2015 years 10 months ago

Im so tired of hearing about this occupy crap. These people need to go find a job and quit using occupy (insert city name here) as an excuse to party and be lazy.

2015 years 10 months ago

If you find my post “semi-coherent,” then your reading comprehension is really bad!

I apologize to the weasels of the world for referring to these cockroaches as weasels.


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