by Brenée Goforth
Communications Associate, John Locke Foundation
On Tuesday, April 14, protesters gathered on the corner of Jones and Wilmington streets in Raleigh to protest the governor’s Executive Order 121 banning gatherings of more than 10 people. The police eventually ended the protest claiming it violated the aforementioned executive order.
Carolina Journal’s Rick Henderson was on the scene while the protest was happening, and he spoke about it on WPTF Radio with Scott Briggaman Wednesday morning.
I was largely pleased with the way the captain of the Raleigh police department handled things early on… of course they ended up breaking the demonstration up.
It is the sort of situation that is difficult to defend because the city’s official position now is a “non-essential activity.”
The Raleigh Police Department made it very clear on Tuesday that it believes protesting is a non-essential activity by announcing the stance on its official Twitter account.
Protesting is a non-essential activity.
— Raleigh Police (@raleighpolice) April 14, 2020
JLF’s Jon Sander’s explained Tuesday afternoon the constitutional issues with this statement. He wrote:
Specifically listed rights in Constitutions [like the right to assemble] are the very essence of essential
Henderson echoed these sentiments on WPTF Wednesday morning, commenting:
That is a real problem if you have any knowledge of constitutional law and our basic rights as Americans. You always have the right to petition the government for redress of grievances… You cannot just simply say “we are going to outlaw all protests.”
Read the coverage of the protest in Carolina Journal here.