The New Black Panthers had planned an armed march through the city of Wilmington in Delaware, but changed it to a vigil after the District Attorney said he would prosecute anyone caught with a firearm in a public place. Although they did change the march to a vigil, they did indeed remain armed as they originally planned, despite the warning from the DA.
The Black Panthers gathered on the steps of the New Hanover County Courthouse.. They brought their own microphone and read a list of their demands.
WECT’s James Johnson was on the scene when New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office arrived towards the end of the event and seized 10 weapons from the group. Of the 10 weapons, there were 2 revolvers, 5 semi-automatic pistols, and 3 shotguns, all of which were loaded.
Revolutionary Black Panther members fully and peacefully cooperated with police, but the group’s leader, Dr. Alli Muhammad, claimed they were unfairly targeted. He told Time Warner Cable News:
“The actions of the Wilmington Police Department and the police chief are in essence a violation of the U.S. Constitution and our constitutional rights as well as our civil rights.”
According to Sheriff Ed McMahon, the group clearly disregarded local county ordinance section 38-31 by possessing weapons. As reported by ABC’s WWAY TV3, McMahon said the police department “will not tolerate violations of the law.”
The weapons all had their serial numbers intact and police say the Panthers can pick them up with proper identification. No word yet from the prosecutor on whether he plans to follow through on his threat of prosecution. The Panthers then moved the rest of their day at a private location.