N.C.) – North Carolina-based advocacy groups are concerned about possible
Raleigh police violence against peaceful protesters at the Pride in Solidarity
with Black Lives Matter rally this weekend, a
letter sent to Police Chief Cassandra Deck-Brown on behalf of civil rights,
community and activist organizations described today.
The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law partnered with Emancipate NC and ACLU of North Carolina Legal Foundation to send the letter ahead of a large peaceful protest scheduled to be held this weekend in Raleigh. The letter calls on the Raleigh Police Department (RPD) to publicly commit to upholding all individuals’ constitutional rights to assembly and speech, including not resorting to excessive force or unlawful arrests.
“Police are sworn to protect and serve, but instead many kill, terrorize and prey on Black and working-class communities of color,” said Zainab Baloch of Young Americans Protest (YAP), one of the groups. “Our community is still grieving the death of Keith Collins at the hands of Raleigh police, the latest in a continuing string of needless police violence against Black people, including Akiel Denkins, Kyron Hinton, Braily Andres Batista Concepcion, Joshua Satterwhite, Kyle Garcia and Soheil Mojarrad.”
“Our constitutional rights don’t simply disappear because the Raleigh police show up at a protest,” said Chris Domingo, co-organizer of Pride in Solidarity With Black Lives Matters. “We will be in the streets this weekend exercising our rights, and we urge Raleigh Police and all law enforcement officers to honor our right to protest.”
The letter references recent actions the RPD took against peaceful protestors who were attacked by the Raleigh Police Department with tear gas and rubber bullets during protests against police brutality at the end of May. Those protests were peaceful until RPD appeared in riot gear and began launching tear gas and non-lethal munitions into crowds of demonstrators in downtown Raleigh.
Other groups involved in the letter include
Raleigh Police Accountability Community Taskforce, Save Our Sons and St. John’s Metropolitan Community
Church. All the groups are represented by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Emancipate NC and
ACLU of North Carolina Legal Foundation.
The letter insists that the RPD commit to addressing the specific acts of violence and violations of constitutional rights it committed against the protestors on May 30th and 31st. Specifically during the upcoming protest, they must not use munitions, irritants, explosives or rubber bullets on peaceful protesters; they must give state mandated orders of dispersal and provide clear exits that allow for voluntary dispersal before threatening to use or using munitions.