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Whatever happened to Katherine Moore’s suit against the City of Wilmington?

Post updated June 13, 2009:

The court system may be through with her, but Katherine Moore is not finished seeking justice for her since-dismissed DWI arrest in 2002. After years of legal wrangling, an appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and a plea to the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case when the court of appeals upheld a lower court judge’s decision that Moore’s lawsuit had no merit, the former city councilwoman has nowhere else to go within the court system.

But now Moore has turned her attention to judicial accountability organizations that she said are helping her take her complaints to the U.S. Justice Department. Moore said the Justice Department repeatedly denied hearing her complaints about her false arrest.

“I need vindication,” said the 67-year-old, who now resides in Miami. “And I demand vindication. My life as I knew it was destroyed. The life I knew for 50 years was destroyed because of the arrest.”

Moore had long accused city police of harassing her and other black citizens after she was wrongly charged with driving while impaired in November 2002. Her alcohol breath test came up negative, and the New Hanover County District Attorney’s Office dropped the charges because there was no evidence she was drunk.

Moore, a councilwoman from 1991 until her defeat in 2005, filed her first federal lawsuit in 2003 against the City of Wilmington and others, claiming that her civil and constitutional rights were violated, and her arrest had been meant to destroy her stature as a black politician. In 2006, she asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear her case, and her petition was denied the following year after the court of appeals upheld the district court’s decision. Moore filed another federal lawsuit against the city in April 2006, only this time, she also turned her focus to members of the city’s Civil Service Commission. In June of that year, she filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit without prejudice. Moore has represented herself throughout her lawsuits.

Moore’s lawsuits stemmed from the night of Nov. 6, 2002. Then 62 years old, Moore went to a city council meeting and afterward, drove to Henry’s Restaurant on Independence Boulevard. There, city clerk Penelope Spicer-Sidberry and former public information officer, Douglas Hewett, met Moore, who ate buffalo wings and drank an orange vodka tonic, according to her second lawsuit.

When she left the restaurant and was about three miles away from her house, city police stopped her and arrested her for DWI. A magistrate judge approved the charge despite two breathalyzer tests that came up negative, according to the lawsuit. The two officers involved in her arrest were later disciplined. The officers appealed the decisions to the Civil Service Commission, which overturned the disciplinary actions that resulted in a demotion for one officer and termination for the other.

“It’s not over at all,” said Moore, adding that she writes about her case every day. She said she has completed a book titled, “Sadly, My Eyes Were Opened: Diary of a Politician,” which originally had the title, “Sex and My City.”

She said she is waiting to publish the book.

To date, Moore has no more lawsuits pending against the city.

Moore in 2002 showing her DWI ticket.

Moore in 2002 showing her DWI ticket.

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6 Responses to “ Whatever happened to Katherine Moore’s suit against the City of Wilmington?”

  1. On July 12, 2009 at 2:05 pm Andrea Dunn wrote:

    What about Katherine Moore’s book? Has it been published yet (i.e. Sex and My City…)….

  2. On July 12, 2009 at 3:02 pm franciss1 wrote:

    It is far from over. The justice department is being asked to reconsider the case and investigate the Wilmington Police Department. It will NEVER be over until justice has been done.

  3. On July 12, 2009 at 3:06 pm franciss1 wrote:

    The former Mayor Pro Tem has been heavily involved in judicial accountability issues and has been a frequent speaker on Capitol Hill at the Stewart Mott House and the National Press Club. Pictures are included on the following web site. Visit:


  4. On October 11, 2009 at 3:30 pm Neo wrote:

    I dont think she needs to take any more of this communites time and or taxpayers money on legal matters that are not going to go anywhere. She’s better off just going on with the rest of her life. At somepoint in life we have all been a victim of something unjust. Sounds like to me she’s clearly out to get more money for herself. She’s already been vindicated, they dropped the charges and they have apologized years ago. No-one owes her anything…

  5. On December 4, 2009 at 10:30 am jackie walters wrote:

    # 4 have you ever been arrested by any of your so called city police?? You have a little to learn evidently so until you know what your talking about you need to HUSH!!
    We had a good council person in Kathrine Moore & some body didn’t like it because she was about to find out why some of our money was being wasted!! So she had a target on her back & they sure thought they were through BUT YOU BETTER WATCH OUT your little secret might be out of the bag quicker then you think!!! She is not someone to let you walk on her Just because she was a woman!!!

  6. On July 25, 2010 at 4:15 pm Daver wrote:

    Oh please, she is out to make money, not vindicate herself. She is retired and she should just move on. I have been arrested and later dropped due to a false report being made and I moved on. It took time but just state that you are innocent and move on. Making a big blowout like she has makes people wonder why a simple statement wasnt enough and she continually trying to pursuade makes her look like an official getting railroaded. Granted most officials take care of each other and have no clue about the average person, anymore.

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