North Carolina Cops Threaten and Arrest ‘Non-Essential’ Protesters for Unauthorized Free Speech
The “Reopen North Carolina” protests on Tuesday in Raleigh, N.C. were broken up by police who threatened attendees and arrested at least one protester.
“The #ReopenNC protest that occurred in Downtown Raleigh today has been cleared. We explained to the protesters that at this time, they are not allowed to protest. It is a non-essential activity and violates the Governor’s Executive Order,” the Raleigh Police Department announced on their Facebook page. They posted a video of law enforcement informing protesters that their 1st Amendment rights are now null and void because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“There was one arrest made by the State Capitol Police,” Raleigh police added.
Dozens of patriotic protesters assembled at the State Capitol in Raleigh on Tuesday to express their rage with a shut-down order issued by Democrat Governor Roy Cooper on March 27. The order was meant to extend for 30 days, but protesters believe it should be ended now before more damage is done to the economy.
“I am so proud of us,” said Ashley Smith, a Boone business owner who co-founded the ‘ReopenNC’ Facebook group. “We will continue to work day and night until our governor opens up for business.”
The Facebook group grew quickly as North Carolina residents congregated on the digital public square to schedule a rally on behalf of their lost freedom and prosperity.
Correction: the group began last Tuesday.
— Alex Berenson (@AlexBerenson) April 13, 2020
The police made it known that this type of peaceful organizing is no longer permitted, as the coronavirus emergency has effectively turned the Constitution into toilet paper nationwide.
“If you fail to leave, if you do not disperse, you will be subject to a physical arrest and taken to the jail,” an officer told the crowd on his bullhorn.
WRAL reports that Monica Faith Ussery, a 51-year-old Holly Springs resident, was the protester who was arrested. She is facing a misdemeanor charge of violating an executive order because she stood for her basic rights.
“I have a right to peacefully assemble,” Ussery said before she was taken away by law enforcement with her hands restrained in a zip tie.
Smith, who is one of the lead rally organizers, believes this type of behavior by law enforcement at the behest of the governor is clear overreach.
“We have God-given rights that are infringed upon right now, as we speak, every day that this state remains closed,” she said.
“The economic disaster that’s going to happen if they make us stay home over and over is going to be worse than any COVID-19 problems that we’ve had,” rally attendee David Engstrom said.
“People feel like their freedoms and their rights are being infringed upon, and their businesses are suffering,” Smith said. “I think the risk does not merit the measures that we’re taking to prevent it.”
“I believe that North Carolinians are intelligent enough to make their own decisions on social distancing and their own health care choices,” she added.
Despite the arrests and the push back from police who refuse to honor their oath to the Constitution, Smith vows to return every Tuesday with her merry band of protesters in firm opposition of Gov. Cooper’s executive tyranny.