RALEIGH — Police in North Carolina’s capital city arrested 11 more people Wednesday during demonstrations outside the Executive Mansion focused on urging Gov. Roy Cooper to veto a measure addressing death investigation records.
Dozens of people have protested or camped out across the street from the governor’s residence since early Tuesday in opposition to the legislation. Four demonstrators were arrested Tuesday afternoon for spray painting on Blount Street.
On Wednesday morning, officers had demanded the protesters disperse or face arrests, The News & Observer of Raleigh reported. Some demonstrators had blocked the street with a banner referring to a man shot and killed last year during an encounter with an officer.
Ten of those arrested by Raleigh police on Wednesday morning were accused of impeding traffic, while another person was arrested by State Capitol Police for trespassing and resisting a public officer, according to a Raleigh Police Department tweet.
The protesters don’t like a measure approved last week that would make clear death investigation records held by law enforcement and deemed confidential under public records law retain that same confidentiality when handed to state medical examiner.
The language, sought by Cooper’s Department of Health and Human Services, is within a broader DHHS bill that remained on the governor’s desk as of Wednesday. Some House Republicans said this week they are willing to revisit the public records language.
Cooper has not said whether he would sign the bill, veto it, or let it become law without his signature. During a media briefing on Wednesday, Cooper said he’s concerned about the public record provision, too, but also mentioned other bill sections that help access federal health care funding.
“I think there’s going to be conversations that are going to go on with the General Assembly about how we fix this,” Cooper said.
The records provision has received renewed attention because it was approved as calls for police reform have intensified following the May 25 death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Public records and prisoner advocates contend it could make investigations into deaths occurring in police custody or at a jail less transparent.