NC Governor Declares a “State of Emergency” — What Does That Mean?

Following a second night of demonstrations in Charlotte that escalated into violence, leaving one person dead, scores injured (including a dozen police officers), and several business damaged in downtown Charlotte, North Carolina Gov. Pat McRory declared a state of emergency Wednesday night.

Civil unrest surged as reports of the fatal shooting of a black man by a police officer spread, prompting mass protests that went into the night. The demonstrations soon devolved into looting, arson, and other property damage and the violence continued all week, prompting Charlotte city officials to seek assistance from the Governor.

To help stem the violence and looting that was occurring, the Governor, under the powers granted him in a declared state of emergency, called on help from the National Guard and state police to assist local law enforcement.

But what does a “state of emergency” mean?

A state of emergency is when a situation of national danger or disaster occurs and a government suspends normal constitutional procedures in order to regain control.

In North Carolina, the power to declare such a state and the laws regulating its implementation are authorized in the North Carolina Emergency Management Act of 1977, found in Chapter 166A of the North Carolina General Statutes.

Gov. McRory implemented the State’s Emergency Operations Plan for the city of Charlotte and county of Mecklenburg just before midnight Wednesday.

Under § 166A.19.-30., the Governor has the power to evacuate all are parts of the stricken area, establish economic controls over resources and materials, including food and shelter, acquire through condemnation or seizure necessary supplies and facilities, set curfews, restrict vehicular travel, utilize all State resources and personnel to provide emergency services, waive any State or municipal laws, regulations or ordinances that hinder the relief effort, and to perform and exercise such other functions, powers, and duties as are necessary to promote and secure the safety and protection of the civilian population.

Gov. McRory delegated Department of Public Safety Secretary Frank L. Perry to direct the State’s Emergency Operations Plan and deploy the State Emergency Response Team to assist Charlotte and Mecklenburg County officials in maintaining safety and security in the city.

There is no time frame as to how long the state of emergency will continue.

To view Executive Order 102 click here.

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