WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The Revolutionary Black Panther Party is planning an armed march in Wilmington this weekend, but police say that is illegal.
The group holds these marches every month all over the country. Chief Commander Alli Muhammad said the last one was in Milwaukee Wisconsin in December. He said they are coming to Wilmington for several reasons.
“We have Walter Scott,” Muhammad said. “There are other people who we understand to be victims of genocide. That’s why we are in the state, but particularly dealing with Wilmington, Brandon Smith is one of those particular ones.”
A detective with the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office shot and killed Brandon Smith in 2013, but it was eventually ruled justified by the district attorney’s office.
“There’s like silence on his case,”
That is why he said they march with firearms.
“We march in arms in honor of life of these people who’ve lost their life” Muhammad said.
Wilmington police said it is illegal in the state to have firearms at a demonstration.
G.S. 14-277.2 says:
“It shall be unlawful for any person participating in, affiliated with, or present as a spectator at any parade, funeral procession, picket line, or demonstration upon any private health care facility or upon any public place owned or under the control of the State or any of its political subdivisions to willfully or intentionally possess or have immediate access to any dangerous weapon. Violation of this subsection shall be a Class 1 misdemeanor. It shall be presumed that any rifle or gun carried on a rack in a pickup truck at a holiday parade or in a funeral procession does not violate the terms of this act.”
Muhammad said that is not going to stop them.
“We are not people going out there being derelict,” Muhammad said. “We are not people going out there just being careless and chaotic. We are actually standing for what’s lawful.”
A Wilmington Police spokeswoman said you do not have to get a permit to do a march, but you have to fill out a form for intent to picket. Muhammad said they have been in contact with the police department, but they still plan on marching with firearms.
Muhammad said anyone is welcome to attend the events this weekend. Both of them will be held at the Creekwood Community Center on Saturday and Sunday.