Morrisville, N.C. (9/10/2021) — Late Friday, Governor Cooper vetoed House Bill 805, an unnecessary and excessive measure that would suppress free speech and further criminalize Black and Brown communities for exercising their first amendment rights. This bill would have also increased penalties for riot-related bodily injury or property damage, allowing officers to stack excessive charges against our most vocal citizens indiscriminately.
Similar to an anti-riot bill recently blocked by a federal court in Florida, HB 805 is part of a national wave of legislation in response to widespread protests for racial justice and police accountability.
Democracy North Carolina, alongside dozens of organizations and communities from across the state, has been closely following this anti-protest bill and thank Governor Cooper for putting people over property.
Cheryl Carter, Interim Co-Executive Director for Democracy North Carolina, issued the following statement regarding Governor Cooper’s veto:
“HB 805 is a retaliatory bill designed to take away the voice of thousands of North Carolinians who gather together to demand racial justice and police accountability. It was an insidious attempt to discourage people from participating in the fundamental democratic practice of freely protesting and petitioning their government for a redress of grievances out of fear of racial retaliation. We applaud Governor Cooper for upholding his promise – People are more important than property. Black Lives do Matter. We now look to our N.C. legislators to sustain the veto and ensure our constitutional freedom to engage in acts of protest is protected.”
Democracy North Carolina is a statewide nonpartisan organization that uses research, organizing, and advocacy to increase civic participation, reduce the influence of big money in politics, and remove systemic barriers to voting and serving in elected office.