Marchers in North Carolina Voter Rally Pepper-Sprayed & Arrested
On October 31, North Carolina law enforcement took aim at citizens exercising their First Amendment rights who were marching to a polling location in Graham to honor African-Americans who were killed due to racial injustice (including such victims as Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and Trayvon Martin, among others) by pepper spraying and arresting a number of the marchers. According to reports, the breakdown between police and crowds occurred when a moment of silence held for George Floyd went longer than eight minutes and 40 seconds, wherein police informed the marchers that they needed to clear the roadway and deployed pepper spray, claiming that they were blocking it without authorization.
When police brutality and subsequent arrests like these occur, one of the first steps is to determine whether the use of force was appropriate – including initial orders given to marchers to disperse – as well as to review the specific charges being brought against those arrested. As is similar with events like these, wherein the public is simply exercising their First Amendment constitutional rights, a number of those arrested are reportedly being charged with disorderly conduct, permit violations, and unlawful assembly.
Was The Purpose Voter Suppression Efforts?
However, this particular event is unique in that marchers were on their way to the polls to vote, and a number of them have reported that, due to being tear-gassed (not just pepper-sprayed), they were ultimately unable to get to the polls that day, which was the last day to vote early in the state of North Carolina. As a result, North Carolina Democratic congressional candidates are now getting involved and reporting their version of the events, which they say involved law enforcement attempting to take sound equipment away from event organizers even though the proper permits had been obtained to use it. Some are also reporting that a number of officers weren’t even allowing the protesters to march; potentially due to a communication breakdown between police departments; as well as potential voter intimidation and suppression efforts. While the marchers involved claimed that they filled out the required paperwork to allow the roadway to be blocked by rally members in order to hold a peaceful event and transport marchers to polling locations, the police claim that event organizers failed to file the request on time and the event ultimately became unsafe, with one of their own even being assaulted.
Arrested and Charged for Protesting in North Carolina? Contact Criminal Defense Attorney Rashad Hauter
If you have been charged with a crime for simply exercising your constitutional rights, you should speak with a North Carolina criminal attorney right away in order to ensure that you are protected and your life isn’t ruined by these charges.
At Hauter Law Firm, we care deeply about our clients, their rights, and their future. Contact our office today to find out more.