Police call for peaceful demonstration
Marking the one-month anniversary of the death of Jesus Huerta in the back of a patrol car at Durham Police Headquarters, another march and vigil are planned tonight.
On Nov. 22, a protest turned disorderly outside the headquarters building on Chapel Hill Street, with some participants breaking windows, damaging a police car and throwing road flares and firecrackers.
Durham police officials Wednesday indicated that they respect First Amendment rights, but want to ensure a “safe, peaceful and orderly event,” according to a news release issued by the department.
The event is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. at the CCB Plaza downtown.
Expectations for the crowd include:
• No impeding traffic by blocking or marching on city streets.
• No entry into the police headquarters parking areas or grassy lawns adjoining the building.
• No possession or use of pyrotechnics.
• No wearing masks, hoods or devices that conceal the wearer’s identity.
• No property damage.
• No disorderly conduct.
Extra officers will be on-duty for the march.
Apparently, the vigil is coordinated by Rafael Estrada Maya of Raleigh. He had not contacted police about the event, officials said, nor had permits been obtained. As a result, streets won’t be blocked for pedestrians. They’ll have to use the public plaza and sidewalks.
“While we obtained a telephone number for Rafael Estrada Maya, he declined to speak about the event and hung up,” said Deputy Chief Larry Smith.
Police Chief Jose Lopez Sr. encouraged relatives of Huerta to contact the department directly or through their attorney if “the Huerta family wishes to place a memorial or hold a vigil on the parking lot of Police Headquarters.”
Huerta, a 17-year-old Riverside High School student, died of what police described as a self-inflicted gunshot wound while riding in the back of Officer Samuel Duncan’s patrol car.
Last week, Lopez told reporters that Huerta had been searched and cuffed behind the back, yet still managed somehow to acquire a gun that didn’t belong to a police officer and sustained a fatal head wound.
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