NC GOP Leaders Threaten Legal Action Against Governor After PD Cites Executive Order in 'Reopen' Protest Arrest

AP Photo/Cliff Owen

FILE – In a Feb. 6, 2019 file photo, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper speaks with reporters after testifying before the House Natural Resources Committee hearing on climate change, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

Nick wrote yesterday about how a protest in Raleigh, North Carolina by a group called “Reopen NC” ended up with one person being arrested after the group were told they were in violation of Gov. Roy Cooper’s stay at home executive order, which went into effect on March 30th.

The group were actually there to protest the governor’s executive order in the first place, and want the state opened back up by the end of April. Some protested in their cars, while others protested on sidewalks.

Perhaps even more disturbing than the arrest was what the police department posted from their Twitter account in response to questions regarding what part of the executive order the protester violated. The PD’s answer? “Protesting is a non-essential activity”:

That set off alarm bells all over the place, considering protesting is not specifically mentioned in the executive order. There is a limit on gatherings, which states no more than 10 people can gather together and even then they have to be at least six feet apart from each other.

When the Raleigh police department were asked by local reporter Travis Fain about their later citing of the executive order, and inquired if the police’s response meant they would disperse or arrest protesters even if they were 6 feet or more apart, here’s what the PD said:

In other words, the answer seems to be “yes”:

As a result of the PD saying they are “bound” to enforce the governor’s order and not denying they will disperse and/or arrest protesters even if they stay 6 feet apart, state Senate Republicans fired off a response today demanding the Governor clarify the remarks of the PD and confirm whether or not protesting is allowed or if it is allowed as long as social distancing is followed.

If he confirms the PD’s response is correct, legal action will be taken per this letter:

As of this writing, Cooper has not responded, but we’ll keep you posted with developments. Stay tuned.

It should be noted that in at least two other incidents in North Carolina since the executive order went into effect, arrests were made outside of abortion clinics where pro-life advocates were standing nearby to provide counseling. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) came down hard against the arrests here.