RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Protesters blocked a key road near downtown Raleigh for more than an hour Thursday after they gathered outside the Executive Mansion on Blount Street in opposition to Senate Bill 168.
Protesters blocked traffic along Capital Boulevard and were chanting various slogans. That protest began around 5:30 p.m. Thursday and several people were in the road stopping traffic.
Southbound Capital Boulevard near Peace Street was blocked as of 6:45 p.m. Later both directions were blocked — southbound was blocked by protesters and police stopped traffic in northbound lanes.
The protesters at one point held hands in a circle around at least one car.
Dozens of motorists were trapped in the road blockage for at least 35 minutes.
By 6:32 p.m., several Raleigh police officers moved in at the scene and appeared to detain at least 10 people. The protesters then allowed one car to leave the scene, but overall traffic was still stopped.
By 6:45 p.m., police moved the remaining protesters — nearly 30 — to a thin median strip and all blocked cars were allowed to leave. But the road was still closed in both directions.
Just before 7 p.m., the group began marching in the northbound lanes of Capital Boulevard toward downtown.
The protesters then walked back to the Executive Mansion and Capital Boulevard later reopened.
More than a dozen arrests have been made at the mansion over the last week. Protesters were also in front of the governor’s residence late into Wednesday night.
On Thursday, protesters were in the middle of Blount Street by 5 p.m.
Thirty minutes later, Raleigh police tweeted that they were asking protesters not to “advance on officers.” Soon after that, the protesters were on Capital Boulevard, blocking traffic.
Senate Bill 168 could impact records in death investigations.
Protesters are concerned it could lead to death investigation records being shielded from the public, especially as they call for more transparency in cases of deaths at the hands of the police.
Under current state law, unnatural deaths in law enforcement custody must be reported to a county medical examiner.
Then, if the death is under the medical examiner’s jurisdiction, an investigation is launched and related records are passed to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.
Those related records become public once law enforcement hands it over.
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