Chief cites anarchists as Friday rabble-rousers
The police chief blames outside agitators for a demonstration that got out of hand Friday night, resulting in damage to windows and a patrol car at police headquarters.
A group of protesters gathered at CCB Plaza near the bull statue to demonstrate against the police department on “various issues,” Police Chief Jose Lopez Sr. said in a prepared statement Tuesday.
The main group, which lacked permits for such an event in the plaza, “were apparently joined by a group of outside protesters who we believe did not share the concerns of the original group of protesters. We believe the outsiders joined the protest for the sole purpose of causing disruption and damage.”
The group, now about 200 people strong, marched from downtown to the front of police headquarters at 505 W. Chapel Hill Street.
“Some people in the crowd became unruly and threw road flares, firecrackers and smoke bombs,” Lopez said. “The side window of an unoccupied patrol car, as well as several windows at the front of police headquarters, were damaged.”
Some tried to throw lit road flares under parked vehicles.
“We believe these actions were designed to provoke a response from officers,” he said.
Several people in the crowd wore masks and multiple layers of clothing that allowed them to slip out of sight, remove masks and clothing and make themselves harder to identify, the chief said.
“According to our investigators, the behavior, clothing, tactics and tools used by these individuals are consistent with persons involved in the anarchist movement,” Lopez said.
The chief commended his officers for showing “professionalism and restraint” during the disturbance.
“No one was injured and the crowd was brought under control fairly quickly,” he said. “We believe that the group of original demonstrators planned to hold a peaceful march, since many in the crowd left when the demonstration became unruly.”
Two people – 19-year-old Shahqeel Alexander McCrimmon and a 14-year-old boy – were arrested after the incident.
McCrimmon was charged with failure to disperse on command, holding a meeting or demonstration while wearing a mask or hood and causing a public disturbance. He was released from Durham County Jail after posting $1,500 bond.
The child was charged with injury to property for allegedly damaging a police car. He was released to the custody of his parents.
The incident remains under investigation as police seek others who damaged the headquarters building and the patrol car. Anyone with information is asked to call CrimeStoppers at 919-683-1200.
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