GRAHAM, N.C. - On the last day of early voting in North Carolina, police deployed chemical agents on peaceful protesters as they assembled near Alamance County Courthouse. Multiple news reports note that children were present and affected by the chemical agents. The event, led by Reverend Gregory Drumwright, planned to lead voters on a march to the polls on the last day of early voting was disrupted by police intervention, violence, and arrests. The courthouse, and a Confederate monument that stands on its grounds, has been a popular place for people to gather, protest, and speak out in recent months, largely protesting white supremacy and demanding justice for people killed by police.
“Police violence against peaceful protesters is unacceptable,” said Chantal Stevens, executive director for the ACLU of North Carolina, after learning of the acts of police violence on Saturday, October 31, 2020. “It is hard to see the police’s actions as anything other than an act of voter intimidation. North Carolinians know what this is. There’s a long shameful history of voter suppression in our state, specifically when it comes to Black voters. Yesterday’s police violence is the latest entry into that archive, and North Carolinians deserve better. We need to find a way to close the book on voter suppression and police violence if we are to start a new chapter in our story that recognizes the importance of protecting everyone’s right to vote.”
The ACLU, the ACLU of North Carolina, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and Lockamy Law Firm originally filed a lawsuit on behalf of the Alamance NAACP and 8 individuals in early July, after people were denied the right to protest near the Confederate monument. In August, a federal court issued a preliminary injunction, disallowing county officials from prohibiting protests near the courthouse and monument.