Statement on 12/19 Durham PD Actions

The Durham People's Alliance shares the concerns of many community members regarding the Durham Police Department's response to the peaceful December 19 vigil in memory of Jesus Huerta. We wanted to share our broader perspective with you prior to the Durham City Council's upcoming discussions about this issue. Please see our statement below, and please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or need more information. Thank you for your partnership in strengthening Durham!


Sara Terry & Carl Rist
Co-Presidents, Durham People's Alliance

Statement by Durham People’s Alliance

Durham People’s Alliance stands in fervent opposition to the escalating police response to the public's rightful demand for answers in the death of Jesus Huerta.  The violence in our streets must end.   We call upon all Durham citizens to commit to address these issues in a spirit of nonviolence and community.

We call upon the Durham Police Department (DPD) to engage more collaboratively and transparently with the community to explain the tragic events of November 19.  We also call upon the DPD to focus on controlling the small number of violent demonstrators without resorting to the use of aggressive dispersion tactics on peaceful demonstrators.  These actions are instilling fear and distrust across the community and cannot continue.  Taking to the streets is a strong tradition in Durham and that right must be protected. Before the next protest, planned on January 19, we request the DPD to make clear how they intend to respond.  

We also call upon the demonstrators to help defuse the tensions by renewing their commitment to peaceful protest and to refrain from actions that could endanger any members of the community, including themselves and the police force.

We acknowledge that it will take time to decipher and explain the events of November 19.  Although we must all be patient while the State Bureau of Investigation does its job, we support Mayor Bell’s request for more transparency from the DPD while we wait for the SBI report.  Meanwhile, Chief Lopez and the DPD must begin working in partnership with the community to restore the diminishing public trust in our police department and its leadership.   If that is not forthcoming, we encourage the Mayor, the City Council and the City Manager to take immediate action to restore confidence in our police department and secure the safety and integrity of peaceful protest.

Specifically we ask that the DPD, or an agreed upon intermediary, meet with the Huerta family.  The Huertas have lost a child and deserve an opportunity to speak with the police, with a neutral mediator if needed, to resolve outstanding questions.  We request the DPD to develop an action plan to resolve outstanding concerns about these and other recent incidents.  This plan should include specific actions and milestones by which the DPD will address and communicate to the community about concerns with Huerta’s death, and also the deaths of Jose Ocampo and Derek Walker.   The plan should be made available for public comment and input.  We also urge the City Council to more fully empower the Civilian Police Review Board, so that over the longer term such incidents are altogether avoided or handled with more care and transparency.

Durham People’s Alliance believes that Durham can be more than a place where people live.  It can be a place where people live well.  We are committed to a community where all basic needs are met and each individual has the opportunity for a life of accomplishment, dignity and pride.  Durham – the people of Durham, its elected leaders, public servants and community leaders - must come together to reach a more just path forward.

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  • john templar
    commented 2014-01-16 09:03:06 -0500
    Wow – this is such garbage. It seems to me like most of the Durham Left is more concerned with a breakdown in the social peace, in “order,” than they are with the fact that Durham’s class structure is maintained by an occupying army of historically white supremacist murderers in blue.

    A few things – the Huerta family hasn’t asked to meet with DPD. So an outside group of non-involved liberals, who have not been a part of organizing demonstrations or in the streets with the rest of us, comes off as ridiculously arrogant and out of touch asking for that. On whose behalf? What gives yall the right to urge reconciliation? Its disgusting.

    Second, it wont “take time to decipher the events of the November 19th.” Had yall actually been there, it d be perfectly clear what happened. Yall just dont want to actually indict the brutality of the cops. There are multiple first hand accounts that have been published, which back up each other independently and coincide with various video evidence. Heres one:

    Third, responding this garbage specifically: “We also call upon the demonstrators to help defuse the tensions by renewing their commitment to peaceful protest and to refrain from actions that could endanger any members of the community, including themselves and the police force.”

    What?! Again, what credibility do yall have to say this? Why should the hundreds of famil and friends and supporters listen to this patronizing nonsense. Who are you people?! Maybe chuy’s friends are pissed at the cops harassing them everyday – maybe people are sick of worrying about whether or not their teenagers will get beaten up by cops every night – maybe neighborhoods are sick of being occupied – maybe people of color are sick of white people telling them to cool it. And to subtly blame protesters who defend themselves from cops for “endangering themselves”, thus totally blaming the victim and effectively implying that cop violence is natural, static, understood, unquestionable, is completely disgusting.

    For a critique of this kind of liberal, cop apologist, protester blaming garbage, here is a statement by some people who have actually been involved from the beginning:

    Solidarity with all friends and family, fed up with Durham’s liberal BS
  • posted about this on Facebook 2014-01-06 22:42:42 -0500
    Statement on 12/19 Durham PD Actions


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