Local News

Comments ahead of ReOpen NC march on Memorial Day raise concerns of safety​

Posted May 24, 2020 5:50 p.m. EDT
Updated May 25, 2020 5:02 a.m. EDT

— Comments made on social media ahead of today's ReOpen NC march raised concerns of safety​ and violence.

Adam Smith, the husband of ReOpen NC's co-founder, said reopening NC to protect businesses and constitutional rights are issues some should be willing to kill over.

"We want to pick up arms? Do we want to kill anybody? Of course not, nobody wants to take lives. We don’t want to kill anybody. But are we willing to kill people, are we willing to lay our lives down? Yes. We have to say yes," he said.

Social media has been buzzing about his statement; however, he said his words were taken out of context.

His wife Ashley Smith, co-founder of ReOpen NC, organized protests in five North Carolina locations on Memorial Day, including Raleigh at the Governor's Mansion. She said all protests will be peaceful and does not expect Monday's protest to turn violent. "I doubt very seriously that’s going to happen," she said. "We haven’t seen that, and I of course don’t see that happening."

Adam Smith insists violence would only be an option if society gets out of line from the group's interpretation of the Constitution. "It wasn’t like I was saying, ‘Let’s go out and start taking up arms now.' We have to have a mindset or willingness to if the cause arises, or if we get to that point. Nowhere do I say we’re if that point now, by any means," he said.

Ashley Smith said the protests have all been peaceful, and even family-friendly, with many people bringing their children along.

WRAL is waiting to hear back from Capitol Police and Raleigh Police to see if they expect Monday’s protest to be violent and if they’re heightening security measures.

What to expect under Phase 2

Gov. Roy Cooper gave North Carolinians more freedom to gather Friday with the start of Phase 2 to reopen the state.

Under this phase, salons and barbers can reopen and restaurants can seat guests for the first time in months. Plus, day camps and child care facilities can open.

But bars, gyms, movie theaters and other indoor entertainment spots will have to wait at least five weeks before reopening.

ReOpen NC believes that time frame could force businesses to go under.

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