Elizabeth City curfew extended to midnight; protesters get permit, sit-in at sheriff’s office parking lot for 10th night of protests

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ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. (WAVY) — Elizabeth City extended its daily curfew from 8 p.m. to midnight in the wake of the fatal shooting of Andrew Brown Jr. by law enforcement.

However, the city says protesters will now need to sign a permit to be able to assemble.

The curfew is now from midnight to 6 a.m. The city originally started the curfew on Monday for “safety.”

Elizabeth City officials emphasized in their announcement that police are now requiring people to fill out paperwork to apply for a permit.

The city says the permit must be submitted to the city manager “not less than 15 days no more than 90 days prior to the date on which the proposed public assembly is to take place.”

That indicates that any protest within the next two weeks would be considered illegal by law enforcement. However, the town said on its website there “will be a 15-day grace period for permits at this time.”

Multiple protesters have already been arrested this week, including more on Thursday night.

Protests have been going on peacefully for more than a week after Brown was fatally shot by deputies executing a search warrant.

Local businesses have complained it was the curfew, not protesters, that was keeping away customers.

“I’ve got some young teenagers that work for me,” said Jim Nye, the owner of Hoppin’ Johnz on Colonial Avenue. “Their parents won’t let them come to work cause they’re fearful of their safety. And it’s just, safety has not been a problem.”

Protesters have been marching to demand the release of bodycam footage in the case. A judge ruled this week that footage cannot be released to the public for at least 30 days, though the family can view it within 10 days.

On Thursday, Sheriff Tommy Wooten released the names of the deputies involved in the raid on Brown. Four who he says didn’t fire their weapons have been reinstated and three remain on administrative leave.

Protests on day 10

10 On Your Side is covering day 10 of protests following the death of Brown.

Protest organizers Keith and Kirk Rivers have done a lot of walking the last week, all of it in memory of Brown, though a trip up the stairs Friday at City Hall was just as important.

“We’re here to pick up a permit,” Kirk Rivers said. “… The main goal here is to get justice for Andrew Brown.”

“We are going to abide by what they said, so we are going to put in for a permit because we want to keep the focus on the family,” Keith Rivers added.

A few minutes later, the brothers came out permit in-hand. They now can protest every night until May 15.

“When this thing first happened 10 days ago, there was no way I was going to tell protesters ‘You need a permit,’” said Elizabeth City Manager Montre Freeman.

Freeman says it was a good time to make sure the permit law was being enforced and now he is looking at the curfew.

“Ultimately I want to lift this thing completely,” Freeman added. “I think our citizens deserve it, I think our protestors deserve it and I think the Brown family deserves it.”

With their permit in-hand, protesters returned to Elizabeth City for a 10th day of demonstrations.

After days of marching in the streets, protesters took a different approach Friday.

Protesters held a sit-in outside to continue to demand the release of the bodycam video, accountability for those involved and justice for Brown.

More than 100 people were peacefully protesting in the parking lot around the sheriff’s office. Some could be seen with chairs and signs. It’s the same location they’ve been meeting for the previous protests.

The original plan was to march again Friday, however, Kirk Rivers, one of the organizers, said they switched gears after arriving to the sheriff’s office parking lot.

“We were met here with dumpsters blocking entrances, a sheriff on the other side,” Rivers said. “This is taxpayers’ property so we have a right to be here.”

The mood Friday evening was more like that of a block party. People were grilling, playing catch, dancing and chatting with others.

Protesters at the sit-in said they plan to keep coming back until they see results. Their goal hasn’t changed.

Protesters told 10 On Your Side they’ve remained peaceful but feel they’ve been treated otherwise.

“We’re having to sit down right here at the sheriff’s department and we will sit down every day until we get results,” said Maria Franz.

They said they’re in it for the long haul.

“If you never come out and show that you’re not satisfied with the way these things are going, it will never change,” said John Pollard.

They plan to keep fighting for accountability and transparency.

“This is not a moment, this is a movement. That’s what we want the whole world to know,” Rivers said.

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