Committed to transparency in Huerta investigation

Dec. 20, 2013 @ 03:31 PM

Like many of you, I was dismayed to learn about the unfortunate events that unfolded during what was supposed to be a peaceful vigil Thursday in memory of Jesus Huerta.

It’s unfortunate that the actions of a few necessitated a forceful police response to disperse the crowd before more harm was done to public property as well as to prevent more violent acts toward the men and women who serve our community each and every day.
As U.S. citizens, we have a constitutional right to assemble and have our voices heard. That right is valued no more than here in Durham, where we have a proud tradition of openly discussing and debating issues. However, when assemblies turn aggressive and violent, I believe the public has an expectation that our highly trained police officers be prepared to halt the escalation of violence for the safety of the public.
What’s tragic to me is that during all of this turmoil and rush-to-judgment, the Huerta family is hurting for the loss of Jesus. While he died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, which has been further validated by an independent gunshot residue test, it doesn’t ease the pain for a loved one who is no longer here. For this, I am truly sorry for them as they cope with their grief regarding how Jesus’ life came to an end.
I have heard your concerns through the many messages that I have received from residents about this incident. I take them all seriously, but I again urge our residents and the Huerta family to have patience while the SBI completes its investigation. As I have previously stated, I am committed to transparency and I will, to the best of my ability, ensure full disclosure of the results of the SBI investigation once it is complete.
Until that time, I ask for peace and patience during this holiday season.

Tom Bonfield is Durham city manager.