Two Sanford men who recently spoke before the Lee County Board of Commissioners to oppose state coronavirus restrictions, were among dozens of people arrested by Washington D.C. police Wednesday following a siege at the U.S. Capitol by a mob angered by the election of Joe Biden as president.
Jere Dement Brower, 45, of 4112 Carson Drive, and Lance Edward Grames, 40, of 211 Circle Ave., were arrested about 7:30 p.m. on Peace Monument Circle on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol, according to the Washington D.C. Metropolitan Police Department. They were each charged with misdemeanor curfew violation and misdemeanor unlawful entry.
A 6 p.m. curfew was put place by the mayor of D.C. in an attempt to contain the unrest that erupted following a rally on the White House grounds by Donald Trump who claims Biden won the election by voter fraud. A mob of hundreds descended upon the Capitol building where Congress was in session to certify the electoral college votes for Biden. The rioters busted through police lines, doors and windows and took over the building, forcing legislators to barricade in offices and in the House and Senate chambers, before law enforcement regained control.
According to a Metropolitan Police Department spokeswoman Thursday, Brower and Grames were with a group of people who reportedly failed to heed three warnings by police officers to vacate the Capitol grounds 90 minutes after the curfew went into effect.
Each was released Thursday on his own recognizance, meaning without bail and on a promise to appear in court, after pleading not guilty to the charges before a judge Thursday afternoon, according to D.C. Superior Court records.
The records show the local men were docketed with 21 co-defendants, all identically charged. The co-defendants, ages 24-72, hailed from across to the U.S. to include Wyoming, Arizona, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, D.C., Illinois, Connecticut, Oregon, Georgia, Florida, Michigan Maryland, Virginia. One other man was also from North Carolina: Earl Glosser, 40, of Matthews, the court records show.
Grames and Brower have both been vocal about their support of Trump and their displeasure with Gov. Roy Cooper’s powers during the coronavirus pandemic.
The men appeared before the Lee County Board of Commissioners on Dec. 21 to comment on whether the board should enforce Cooper’s request for counties to impose civil penalties on those who violate his COVID-19 mask and gathering mandates.
“(Cooper’s) strongly encouraging local ordinances because he doesn’t have the authority. He simply doesn’t. And he’s saying that they’re working closely with health departments and law enforcement agencies — to do what? To harass people? To give ‘em a hard time, make them pay a $50 fine?” Grames told commissioners.
He went on to say he was “assaulted” at a Family Dollar here for not wearing a mask.
“This manager, very, very angrily, and not in a nice way, asked me to leave. I asked for her name, number, contacted everybody, Sanford Police Department, everybody I could think of, and nothing was done,” he said.
Brower was similarly opposed to the enforcement of the governor’s orders.
“I don’t need to let you know that he’s overreaching on his emergency management declaration by telling me how many people we have in our home. It’s just plain wrong right here,” Brower told commissioners. “I would ask you to sit here and refuse this. Send it back to him, let him get sued, and let’s let the courts deal with the unconstitutionality that he’s doing. Which, God willing, that’s where we’ll go.”