No curfew arrests during the Friday evening demonstrations at the CE | Local News
Elizabeth City Police made no arrests on Friday during the first night of the city’s amended curfew, the first time since the restriction took effect earlier this week .
Most of those protesting in the parking lot of the Pasquotank Public Security Building, the fatal April 21 shooting by county sheriff’s deputies, were gone by midnight, which is now the city’s new nighttime curfew and county, city manager Watch Freeman said on Saturday. .
Fewer than 10 protesters stayed past midnight but none were arrested, Freeman said.
There were also no reports of property damage or injuries, he said.
The city and county changed the start time of their nightly curfews, which began Tuesday, from 8 p.m. to midnight on Friday. The curfew end time remains at 6 a.m. Before the change, a total of 18 people had been arrested for curfew violations for three nights.
The city also began asking protest leaders on Friday to apply for permits to conduct protests on public property in the city.
Long-standing city policy requires a permit to protest on public property, but Freeman waived the requirement during the first 10 days of protests after Brown’s fatal shooting.
“We didn’t want to make a situation of anger and frustration even more tumultuous by requiring a permit to protest,” he said. “We just didn’t want to do this.”
Freeman now believes in the 11th day of protests against the gunshot death of Brown by MPs, and especially after discussing the issue with protest leaders, the city is in a better position to begin enforcing the ordinance on them. protest permit.
Requiring a permit explaining when and where the protests will take place and an estimate of the number of protesters who will participate will allow the city to better respond to the protests, Freeman said.
“This will allow us to better plan the protests and let our citizens know where they will take place so that we can redirect traffic,” he said.
Having more information about the protests will also allow first responders to respond more quickly to other emergencies such as fires and residents suffering from health crises, he said.
Under the existing ordinance, those seeking to protest are required to obtain an approved permit 15 days before their protest demonstration on city property. Freeman, however, said he was waiving the requirement for the next 14 days.
Under what he describes as a two-week “grace period”, protest leaders can apply for a daily permit from the city and get approval on the same day, Freeman said.
Freeman actually approved six protest permits on Friday. He approved one for Kirk Rivers, a local leader of many past daily protests and a former city councilor, for Friday night’s protest at the public security building.
Another permit was approved for today, while a third was authorized on Sunday for Reverend Greg Drumwright. Freeman could not immediately recall the names of the other protest groups or when their protests are scheduled, but said they would be held over the coming week.
Individual protesters don’t need a permit, just protest leaders, Freeman said.
Freeman said he spoke to protest leaders on Friday and explained the permit requirement and the reasons the city had started enforcing it. He said they were aware of the existing policy’s 15-day notice requirement and seemed grateful that they did not initially require it.
Responding to criticism from several civil rights groups on Friday over the city’s decision to enforce the protest permit requirement, Freeman said the city “follows the Constitution.”
“We can regulate the time, place and subject matter of demonstrations,” he said.
Freeman also noted that responsible governance requires the city to be able to balance the needs of peaceful protesters with those of the population at large.
“I support the protesters, but the protest is not the only thing happening in their city,” he said. “I also have to make sure that we can respond to the rest of what is going on in the city. When a 911 call is made, our rescuers must be able to reach (the caller) to provide the assistance they need. “