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Observer religion reporter arrested in Raleigh protest

Observer religion reporter Tim Funk was arrested Monday at the General Assembly in Raleigh while covering the Charlotte clergy involved in the legislative protests.

Authorities said Funk, a veteran Observer reporter who covered the statehouse in the 1980s, failed to move away from a crowd of about 60 that was demonstrating and peacefully surrendering to arrest. Funk, who was wearing Charlotte Observer identification, was handcuffed and taken along with the arrested protesters to the Wake County magistrate’s office to be arraigned on misdemeanor charges of trespassing and failure to disperse.

Jeff Weaver, police chief for the General Assembly Police in Raleigh who oversaw the arrests, told The Associated Press that Funk did not heed a warning from officers to disperse before the arrests began.

Funk had earlier written about the weekly protests from Charlotte. Monday was his first live coverage of the event in Raleigh. He was released at about 11 p.m.

“We believe there was no reason to detain him,” said Cheryl Carpenter, Observer managing editor. “He wasn’t there to do anything but report the story, to talk to Charlotte clergy. He was doing his job in a public place.” Mark Washburn

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