SCSJ: “…these bills send a strong message that our legislature’s priority is not protecting the fundamental rights of North Carolinians.”
DURHAM, N.C. (5.6.2021) — North Carolina lawmakers are fast-tracking two bills on Thursday that would create more penalties for protesters and provide more protections for police.
House Bill 805, sponsored on May 3, by House Speaker Tim Moore, would impose harsh criminal penalties on protesters charged with “rioting.” The bill was introduced on Thursday alongside House Bill HB761, legislation designed to increase penalties for damage to police property.
Both bills will be debated on the floor of the NC House on Monday.
In a joint statement from Southern Coalition for Social Justice, Tyler Whittenberg, Chief Counsel of Justice System Reform, and Jeff Loperfido, Senior Counsel Voting Rights, responded to the bills, saying they “send a strong message that our legislature’s priority is not to protect the fundamental rights of our state’s people.”
”With the introduction of House Bill 805, Speaker Moore has made clear that he is willing to sacrifice the Constitutionally guaranteed right to free speech and protest that are essential to our democracy in an attempt to deter and criminalize protests surrounding the taking of Black lives. Combined with proposed legislation that would impose harsher penalties on our state’s people to protect police property, these bills send a strong message that our legislature’s priority is not protecting the fundamental rights of North Carolinians.”
The Southern Coalition for Social Justice, founded in 2007, partners with communities of color and economically disadvantaged communities in the South to defend and advance their political, social, and economic rights through the combination of legal advocacy, research, organizing and communications. Learn more at southerncoalition.org and follow our work on Twitter and Facebook.