Raleigh, N.C. — Gov. Pat McCrory weighed in Thursday on North Carolina protests responding to recent police shootings in Missouri and New York, saying he respects the rights of people to be heard but objects to those who blocked traffic.
"I respect the peaceful protests, although I do object to the blocking of traffic because you could be causing some potential safety problems. And that's the last thing we need, because that doesn't mean it's a peaceful protest," McCrory said. "You still have to follow rules in peaceful protests, but I respect their right and their viewpoint."
McCrory spoke to reporters after an appearance before the North Carolina League of Municipalities.
He referred specifically to protests in Durham Wednesday night that responded to recent incidents in Ferguson, Mo., and New York City in which unarmed black suspects died as a result of police actions. Nine people were arrested in connection with the Durham protest after starting their protest at the Streets at Southpoint mall and then blocking traffic on Fayetteville Road between Herndon Road and Renaissance Parkway for about 40 minutes.
"I had to deal with this as a mayor over 20 years ago, and I'm going to have to deal with it as a governor," McCrory said. "It's an issue that's not going to go away. It's an issue we're going to have to resolve as a society and as a state and as a nation. It's not going to be the last time this issue is going to arise. These are issues that the police are having to deal with every day, and they are issues that communities are having to deal with every day. We're going to have to talk through them, but do it in a conversational style, not in style in which we're screaming at each other."
McCrory referenced a police-involved shooting in Sanford Wednesday, saying police and the public need to "make sure we get all the facts" before reaching conclusions.
"This is not an new issue, but it's not an issue that's going to go away either," he said.
Asked if he had spoken to law enforcement about these types of shootings, McCrory said he speaks to law enforcement almost every day.
"I've had conversations with our public safety department about this to ensure we have proper training and procedures in place," McCrory said. "I also make sure through the (State Bureau of Investigation) that we're doing proper investigations of any incident that might occur here in North Carolina that requires further review."