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A New Hanover County Sheriff's Office deputy talks with members of the Revolutionary Black Panther Party in front of the New Hanover County Courthouse on Jan. 29, 2017. (Photo: Kevin Wuzzardo/WWAY)

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A news conference held by members of the Revolutionary Black Panther Party on the steps of the New Hanover County Courthouse ended Sunday when law enforcement arrived and seized members’ firearms.

Spokesman Jerry Brewer with the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office said deputies safe kept 10 weapons today brought by members of the Revolutionary Black Panther Party to a gathering held at the New Hanover County Courthouse steps.

Brewer said the Sheriff’s Office was brought in to address the gathering due to its location on county property at the courthouse.

“Members of the Revolutionary Black Panther Party were in violation of local county ordinance section 38-31 by possession of a weapon where it is posted “The Display of Firearms and Possession of Concealed Handguns Prohibited on this Property,” Brewer said.

Deputies also had members who were wearing masks at the gathering lower their mask due to North Carolina state law prohibiting the wearing of masks at meetings or demonstrations.

Brewer said two revolvers, five semi-automatic pistols, and three shotguns, all loaded were safe kept. This investigation is on-going and additional information will be released as it becomes available.

“We will not tolerate violations of the law,” Sheriff Ed McMahon said.

A New Hanover County deputy informed the group’s leader Dr. Alli Muhammad that the group was violating local and state law by being on the courthouse property armed. The group fully cooperated with a request to place all weapons on the ground, where they were seized by deputies. Muhammad and other members of the group stood with deputies as they inventoried the firearms and loaded them to be taken to the Sheriff’s Office, where deputies say owners can pick them up tomorrow.

Wilmington Police, some in tactical gear with guns raised, also arrived at the scene with the deputies upsetting many in the crowd of about 25 people, especially relatives of Brandon Smith, who was shot and killed by officers in 2013 after he shot a deputy in Creekwood. Smith’s sister Georgia Davis said she joined the Black Panthers and asked them to come to Wilmington to help get justice for her brother, who she says was the victim of premeditated murder at the hands of law enforcement. She also says police harassed her and her family after Smith’s death.

“Something has to be done,” Davis said. “We just want justice for my brother, because what they did was wrong.”

Before law enforcement arrived, Muhammad said the RBPP’s plan for an armed event in Creekwood would be moved Sunday to private property on Dock Street after District Attorney Ben David and Wilmington Police Chief Ralph Evangelous said last week anyone armed during a demonstration on pubic property would be arrested under state law. Muhammad said he believes the law to be unconstitutional. He said his group will file suit to challenge it and plans to hold a larger event in Wilmington in the future that he says will draw hundreds of thousands of people from around the country and the world.

As deputies left with the seized guns, the deputy in charge shook hands with Muhammad, who said both sides acted professionally. He said his group’s afternoon events will continue as planned.

“They don’t want us to continue that kind of stuff but like I said, those aren’t the only firearms we’ve got,” Muhammad said. “We still have some work to do today and we’re going to be at a private location.”

From the steps of the courthouse the group came to the corner of 12th and Dock street to speak about issues that affect the community.

Hundreds gathered as the Black Panther Party stood armed with guns and spoke about the injustices they feel are going on in the country. Those in attendance said that they don’t mind them having guns. It’s about a bigger cause.

“They’re just saying just because we have guns doesn’t mean we’re going to shoot you and it’s not right for you to go and shoot us.” Wilmington native Denise Barnes said.

Barnes says that events like this are for informing and she hopes everyone can learn the lessons.

“I hope it starts a broader communication throughout all communities,” Barnes said. “I hope it goes nationwide.”

The message from the Black Panther Party was clear, it’s not about violence, the day was about justice.

Comment on this Story

  • Okay David, then “carry” any of you weapons into any of the facilities I mentioned and inform us of the results. Apologies for the poor choice of words on my part, but I am waiting to hear of your results!

    • Reginald D

      I OC as a regular habit and never have I been looked at twice, let alone arrested for carrying into my bank or the ABC stores in New Hanover County.

    • Bob

      I also carry concealed everywhere I am legally permitted to do so. I generally do not open carry. But, there’s a really big difference as far as I’m concerned between simply carrying holstered in a way that doesn’t say “look at me”, and using it as an attention getting device. If done in a way that could reasonably make people nearby become concerned, you are heading down the path to “going armed to the terror of the public”.

      It’s perfectly legal in NC to carry in Liquor stores, Banks, Credit Unions, and Churches unless properly posted or you are asked not to. The state law actually says I’ve wondered whether some of these businesses understand that putting a “No Concealed Carry” sign up actually means open carry is not prohibited unless they specifically ask someone open carrying not to. I’m also not willing to explore it, since I’m not looking to make waves on the subject.

  • Only 8 of 10 weapons were returned. One was discovered as a “Stolen Weapon” from Wisconsin and the owner of the other unreturned has an ACTIVE DV restraining order against him…in Wisconsin. Hmmmm…yepp…funny thing ’bout them facts Vog! Tizz whattit tizz!

    • Vog46

      So Chris * of 10 were legal with the 9th being possibly legal
      sounds like the VAST majority were law abiding gun owners doesn’t it?
      You paint your groups you dislike with a very broad brush
      sounds like Clinton with her deplorable s comment

      Vog
      Unaffiliated and darned proud of it

  • All lives matter dipstick. Anyone that acts in a criminal manner, disobeys police commands and especially is stupid enough to shoot at one has the potential to loser their life, be they black OR white!

  • Adam Kennedy

    My heart goes to the mother who lost her son. I hope she finds peace.

  • SuperDelicate

    Open carry is just for white people in this country.

    • Jack

      It’s not who. It’s where you open carry. You could be 5 star generals or the president. If you go into any courthouse opening carrying a weapon. You may get arrested or your weapon seized.

  • You won’t find anyone knowledgeable defending the 2nd amendment AND its application to radical, violent, racist organizations that attempt to start riots!

    • Kate McCloud

      Since you’ve judged them guilty of things YOU have created in your mind, I will do the same when it’s cowboy wannabes & thrill of open carry. Am glad for any restrictions on guns & 2nd amendment.

  • charlie13hd

    noticed one of the guns taken was shotgun with pistol grip. Doesn’t that fall under weapon of mass destruction? Why were they not charged with armed to terror of public?

  • MKOriginal7

    I could not be prouder of the Black Panthers, their professionalism, discipline, educating the public on the first and second Amendment, as well as our community’s right to protect itself and provide a safe environment as citizens. To my fellow African-American churchgoing men and women in a post-Charleston world, remember the Deacons for Defense who protected civil rights workers. From the NRA website: “students at Jackson High School in Jonesboro were boycotting classes and picketing the school—demanding an end to racist practices, such as the prohibition on black students taking classes in auto mechanics. The local police, in collaboration with the KKK, cordoned off the school, surrounding the defenseless students. Fire hoses were brought in, ready to spray the protesters. But violence was deterred when the armed Deacons arrived on the scene.”

    • Huh?

    • CHIP STANLEY

      Get real !! They are a hate group and they will end like the last black panther group !! They have no education and teach hate !! They looked like chickens when the deputies took their weapons !!! I am sure they are running the serial numbers and will find those guns are illegally in possession of those fools !!! People need to get back into our Father’s Word for peace !!! They keep carrying those guns they are going to provoke white hate groups and it will be another Greensboro NC scene !!! MKOriginal7 you should think before promoting these thugs !! God bless !!

    • Smokey

      You only like them because they’re black and you’re black. When wiill the black community wake up to the truly simple fact that that associating with a public figure, politician or organization solely because it purports itself to be “black” just doesn’t work? Is your community better off after 8 years of obama?

  • G.S.K. herzak

    I wish they were as tough on the white militia goons running around the backwoods of ‘meria!

  • David A. Perry

    I don’t agree with much that the Black Panthers have to say, but they have a point about these laws being unconstitutional. We all have a 2nd amendment right to “keep and bear arms” That right shouldn’t stop outside a Court House or when you have a parade, regardless of whether you like what that group stands for or not.

    • Tell you what David, take a loaded firearm and brandish it in the hallways of your local elementary school, liquor store, bank, credit union, post office, local church or any private business that has a sign posted, “No concealed firearms allowed!” and let me know how well your argument works out for you. Take your pick.
      I’m a staunch 2nd amendment supporter, but I don’t stretch its application in the name of protest, intimidation or arrogance of local law. I don’t have a need to. I have protection for my family and I when at home. I have protection when I travel and anywhere else where allowed. I typically do not support or frequent private businesses and eatery’s that do not allow concealed carry. I also prefer that nobody realize that I carry concealed, so I do a good job of concealment. I train and maintain proficiency with my firearms. That’s just the way I handle it. You go right on ahead and do yours your way!

    • Phillip Mozingo

      That law goes for everyone regardless of race and I think it is a fair law. If signs are posted stating “NO WEAPONS ALLOWED” then that is the law. Get over it.

  • Brian

    No tree hugs here. We are talking about the Black Panthers, they absolutely hate cops and whites, followed by Latinos and Asian, even small dogs and cats.

  • RS Louis

    Any fool can walk around with a gun.But if your going to revive a party that the FBI and CIA did their best to shoot down but let the KKK run free you must come correct.The KKK has people of power behind them and in their ranks.They must do the same if not their just a group of no power n****** holding guns that’s a threat to the white way.History is out best teacher,best these guy learn what was done to the party in the past to avert their demise in the present.

  • Chip Stanley

    This Smith boy shoots a law enforcement officer and he gets shot and killed !! I think justice was done !! They act like he was out selling Girl Scout cookies or something !! What is wrong with their minds ?? Live by the sword and you will die by the sword !! AMEN !!

  • Chip Stanley

    If this guy is a Doctor , Alli Muhammad or whatever then my cat is a brain surgeon !!! LOL !!!

  • Chip Stanley

    WE DON’T TAKE THEIR CRAP IN WILMINGTON NC !!!!!!! SEND THESE HOMIES HOME WITHOUT THEIR GUNS !!!!!!!!!!! THEY ARE NOT SO BIG AND BAD WHEN THE LAW HAS THEM OUTNUMBERED !!!!!!!!!! LMBO !!!!!!!!!! PUNKS !!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Nightand Fog

    Pretty impotent…

  • ImgoneResist

    See you soon @disqus_IJYSUxaAKi:disqus

    • David O

      I really wish you people would go ahead and start a race war. You will lose. Not just because most of you are cowards, but you are ignorant, as well as out numbered. Please start it.

  • Chris

    This article does not apporiately portray the events that happened. They kicked out any white people who came close to the meeting on dock street. It’s not about justice it’s about supremacy of a race. The leader of this gathering has been recorded live stating “f*** crackas.”

  • Gary

    Let them discover a white guy with a firearm on the courthouse premises. They will arrest and charge you and you sure in the hell will not get your firearm returned.

  • Junior Evans

    before they do anything why don’t they read the police report on the shooting

    • CHIP STANLEY

      AMEN Junior !!! God bless !!!

  • Erlkoenig

    No arrests?? Is Eddy McSheriff serious? I’ve been sited for running a stop sign. I guess this is Black Panther privilege.

  • Sarah Newton

    wow. 25 showed up. i see more armed hunters in one place than that. looking forward to the 100,000 moron march later.

    • Reginald Daysr

      thanks for the love/

    • Chip Stanley

      LOL !!! Yes indeed Sarah ! The Dr is going to sue us because of our laws and bring 100′ pf thousands from around the world back to protest in Wilmington NC !! If I did not know how to talk I would not allow anyone to interview me !! What did anyone gain from this ??

      • For me, it provided clarity to what I had already surmised. The Black Panthers may carry weapons and talk big, but they don’t bring the skills to use them or the brains to talk about them. “Doctor” my narrow backside!

    • Mexoplex

      The real story is none of them were shot. Not the number they had with them. You know how scared white people are of us “coloreds”. I mean the LEOs DID have their weapons raised.

      • Smokey

        maybe next time.

    • Hard truth

      Felons cannot own firearms. I’m surprised they found the 25 ” people” that showed up.

      • Correction, Felons cannot “legally” own firearms. Felons rarely abide by the law. That’s why you’ll find them using the “revolving courthouse door” like a ride at the county fair and a pocket full of quarters.

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