March leads to vigil, arrests

Jan. 20, 2014 @ 10:07 AM

A march to the vigil for Jesus Huerta ended with some peacefully arriving at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church and others arrested by the Durham Police.

A march Sunday resulted in four adults and two minors being arrested by the Durham Police Department for damage to a substation on Rigsbee Avenue and for vandalizing several patrol cars en route to a vigil to remember the teen.

The adults were charged with unauthorized entry and assembly in a city-owned parking facility and resist, delay and obstruct. The two juveniles faced the same charges but were released to parents. There were no arrests for vandalism.

Durham Deputy City Manager Wanda Page said “it appears that no one was injured.”

According to a press release from the DPD, several marchers caused damage to several police vehicles and the District 5 substation. Graffiti was also sprayed at several locations along the march route.

Once at the substation, some marchers threw rocks, shattering the windows of the substation and patrol vehicle, and spray painted patrol vehicles.
Prior to the start of the march a man who identified himself as Huerta’s bother addressed the crowd.

“We are one,” he said. “We are a community. We are here and our minds are here. No justice, no peace.”

Huerta, 17, was found dead in November while handcuffed in the backseat of a Durham PD cruiser from what investigators said was a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Huerta was picked up by officers after his family reported him missing.

The marchers set off from the sidewalk outside Immaculate Conception and the Emily Krzyzewski Center and, instead of heading east to police headquarters, set off in the opposite direction. They quickly circled back around, passing through the Brightleaf and Central Park areas before reaching the northern section of the downtown loop.

Police mobilized at the same time as the marchers, officers with riot gear assembling outside the N.C. Mutual Life Insurance Co. building. Four or five officers watched from the roof of headquarters, and others stood watch on the ground surrounding headquarters.

The department's forces included 10 bicycle and six motorcycle officers, who played a key role in making sure it could respond quickly wherever the marchers chose to go. Two officers in an unmarked car circled the area, obviously keeping tab on events.

The marchers as they turned on to the loop were chanting, "F--- the police, no justice, no peace." They also had mobile escort, a bicyclist or two who appeared to be serving both as scouts and outriders. The bikers later compared notes outside the church on what they'd observed of police tactics.

Police initially kept their distance but moved in after the march turned on to the loop. The motorcycle squad turned up just to the south of the march, from the Chapel Hill Street side of the Durham Convention Center.

Marchers reassured each other. "No reason to freak out," one woman told her companions.

A few took the chance to duck into the Durham Centre parking deck, showing up moments later on the top of the structure.

Helmeted and baton-carrying officers formed a line at Morris Street, blocking the march from progressing further. The motorcycle squad, meanwhile, moved to the loop and circled in behind the marchers.

About 10 marchers walked toward the police line, but turned around on orders from colleagues. "Fall back. FALL BACK," one shouted at them.

Retreating, most of the group cut through the square outside the convention center. The crowd broke up when it reached CCB Plaza, some walking south seemingly in preparation for leaving, others turning west to head back to Immaculate Conception to attend the vigil.