Reverend leads second march to the polls days after Graham law enforcement used pepper spray to end first one

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Wednesday, November 4, 2020
Reverend leads second march to the polls in Graham
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A second march to the polls took place in Graham on Tuesday, days after law enforcement used pepper spray to break up the first march.

GRAHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- A second march to the polls is happening in Graham, days after law enforcement used pepper spray to break up the first march.

One marcher who said she was pepper-sprayed on Saturday was out marching again Tuesday.

"I was unable to vote that day," Ann Jones said. "I was sprayed four times. I'm not going to say a lot more than that but say that was unnecessary for innocent children and people that are elderly to be sprayed down or hosed down with some kind of chemical agent ... it's just nothing but voter intimidation."

The march started Tuesday afternoon at Wayman's Chapel AME Church and made its way to the historic courthouse in downtown.

Janet Johnson, 56, joined the march again. She was using a wheelchair, days after being covered in a pepper vapor spray deployed a few days ago.

"Before I could get out my mouth "don't," everything hit me," Johnson said of Saturday's event. "I couldn't breathe and my eyes were burning, and it was just terrible."

There were supporters of President Donald Trump waiting in downtown Graham, right across the courthouse, equipped with campaign signs, and American and Trump flags.

Some words were exchanged between the two sides but as darkness fell, it remained peaceful in the county seat's downtown square.

Saturday, a planned half-mile march from a Black church to a Confederate monument in downtown Graham ended in chaos. The march was organized as a demonstration to advocate for people to vote in the 2020 election.

The Rev. Greg Drumwright organized the rally and got a permit for the march. However, the Graham Police Department and Alamance County Sheriff's Office said the rally did not follow the guidelines in the permit.

SEE ALSO: Police, march organizers differ on what happened in Graham

The sheriff's office said demonstrators in the march created a safety hazard by bringing a running generator and gas cans. The police department said the marchers were blocking the roadway.

Both law enforcement groups said they started deploying pepper spray and arresting people in the march after some demonstrators became combative with deputies.

The police department arrested eight people and the sheriff's office arrested at least 15. Only four of the 15 arrested by deputies were county residents. Authorities also said a female deputy was assaulted. She was injured when she was pushed to the ground by protesters during the chaos.

WATCH: Full news conference

Belle Boggs and her 6-year-old daughter were caught in the confusion.

"Not 30 seconds passed when people started screaming," Boggs said. "The first person I heard screaming was my daughter, who was overcome with the vapors from the pepper spray."

WATCH: Police pepper-spray demonstrators during march to the polls in Alamance County

The head organizer has filed a lawsuit in federal court against the Alamance County Sheriff's Office and Graham Police Department.