RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Dozens of protesters showed up outside Gov. Roy Cooper’s Executive Mansion Monday night to stage a sit-in and remained out there Tuesday morning. At least one person was detained Tuesday afternoon.
About 50 people came out late on Monday to peacefully protest Senate Bill 168. Protesters said they hope to be able to stop Cooper from signing the bill.
Under current state law, unnatural deaths in law enforcement custody must be reported to a county medical examiner.
Then, if the death is under the medical examiner’s jurisdiction, an investigation is launched and related records are passed to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.
Those related records become public once law enforcement hands it over.
Senate Bill 168 would keep them confidential. It’s something protesters say is wrong.
Senate Bill 168 would essentially shield certain death investigation records by law enforcement from the public.
The group is also calling for the defunding of police.
Rep. John Bell (R-10th District) released the following statement on Tuesday regarding Senate Bill 168:
This was language requested by the Cooper Administration’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and their Chief Medical Officer. The General Assembly acted in good faith to fulfill their request and that’s why it was included in the bill. After further conversations and discussions about its unintended consequences, I am confident this will be revisited and corrected once the legislature reconvenes.REP. BELL
Police showed up to speak with protesters around 5:30 a.m. to ask them to move off the sidewalk. The group moved back to clear room for people to get by and remained outside the Executive Mansion.
Police gave protesters a third and final warning around 9:15 a.m. Tuesday, saying the group couldn’t obstruct the sidewalk with chairs, sleeping bags and blankets.
Just before 10 a.m. Tuesday, police came up to protesters again and told them they could “not run a campsite on the sidewalk”. Officers advised the protesters could stand to hold the protest, but they couldn’t continue to sit on the sidewalk.
The officer then asked the protesters for voluntary compliance, and he reminded the group that it was their right to stand and protest, but they could not have a campsite on city sidewalks.