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North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, talks about his opponent's position on Opportunity Scholarships during a debate on Oct. 14, 2020. North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, talks about his opponent's position on Opportunity Scholarships during a debate on Oct. 14, 2020.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, talks about his opponent's position on Opportunity Scholarships during a debate on Oct. 14, 2020.

Paul Specht
By Paul Specht December 18, 2020

No, Roy Cooper did not get a DUI in Stanly County

If Your Time is short

  • Multiple Facebook posts claim that North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper was arrested in Stanly County for driving while under the influence of alcohol.
  • The rumor may have originated from a video where a woman asked her smart home device if Cooper had been arrested.
  • PolitiFact found no record of Cooper being arrested, and local law enforcement officials say they're not aware of any incident involving Cooper.

A social media rumor claims North Carolina’s governor has gotten himself into legal trouble while driving.

Multiple Facebook users have claimed that Gov. Roy Cooper was caught drinking and driving in Stanly County, just east of Charlotte.

On Dec. 6, one woman's Facebook post was shared more than 200 times:

"Why is the news NOT reporting on North Carolina’s Governor Roy A. Cooper’s arrest, incarceration, and charges of aggravated DUI on Friday night in Stanly County, NC?"

When another Facebook user said he hadn’t seen any news about the alleged arrest, the woman posted a video of herself talking to her Amazon Echo Dot.

An Echo Dot is a voice-controlled speaker that can play music, control smart home devices, make calls and even search the internet for answers to questions.

In the video, which she also posted on Dec. 4, the woman asks: "Alexa, is North Carolina Governor Roy A. Cooper in jail?"

The device responds: "Here’s something I found on the web, according to (indecipherable), he’s being held in the Stanly County jail."

So is it true?

No. PolitiFact found no evidence that Cooper was recently pulled over, caught drunk, or even charged with a crime -- much less in Stanly County.

What the sheriff said

WRAL’s data reporter checked court dockets for records and found nothing.

Stanly County Sheriff Jeffrey Crisco, a Republican, told PolitiFact NC he’s "received numerous calls, texts, emails, and phone calls" about the rumor. Here’s his full email:

"Over the past week to week and a half I have received numerous calls, texts, emails, and phone calls regarding ‘A Law Enforcement Agency,’ not specific to the Stanly County Sheriff's Office, regarding Governor Cooper. I can tell you that Governor Cooper wasn't booked into our Detention Center.

I have also contacted our Communications Center, which is its own agency, and had them check all radio traffic on date and times that were given to myself. The director told me that there isn't any radio traffic with any of our agencies in Stanly County stopping Governor Cooper. We have also contacted the Line Sergeant, with the Highway Patrol and he stated that none of his Troopers stopped the Governor.

Mr. Specht, I feel that we have exhausted all means trying to locate any truth to the rumor. At this point it is in fact just a rumor unless someone can come forward and provide some real evidence.

I would greatly ask for your help in putting this matter to rest and if there is anything else I can help you with please let me know."

An Amazon spokesperson told us that the company is looking into why the device responded the way it did in the woman’s video. The woman who posted the video didn’t respond to a Facebook message seeking comment.

As for Cooper, spokesman Ford Porter said the Facebook claims are just "internet fantasy."

Our ruling

Multiple Facebook users claim that Cooper got caught driving while impaired in Stanly County.

Court dockets show no record of Cooper being charged with a crime. The Stanly County Sheriff says his deputies can find no record of Cooper being detained. And PolitiFact can find no evidence the rumor is accurate. We rate this claim False.

Our Sources

Facebook post on Dec. 4, 2020.

Facebook post on Dec. 6, 2020.

Email and telephone interviews with Stanly County Sheriff Jeffrey Crisco.

Email correspondence with Liz Villafan, spokeswoman for Amazon.

Browse the Truth-O-Meter

More by Paul Specht

No, Roy Cooper did not get a DUI in Stanly County

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