Tensions mount after Durham, N.C., teen’s death in police custody
Last week’s unexplained death of a teenager by an apparent gunshot wound while sitting in a patrol car sparked a march through downtown to police headquarters that turned violent Friday night.
On Saturday, police attributed the violence to a few “outside agitators,” while the department was both criticized and praised for how it responded to the conflict.
On Tuesday, 17-year-old Jesus Huerta died while sitting in Officer Samuel Duncan’s patrol car. Police Chief Jose Lopez said it didn’t appear that Duncan fired his weapon. But Lopez said he would not elaborate on how Huerta, who was under arrest for second-degree trespassing, died until the State Bureau of Investigation completes its work.
In response, more than 150 people gathered Friday night in downtown Durham to remember Huerta and express frustration over the lack of information provided. But as the group reached police headquarters, protesters wearing black hooded sweatshirts, ski masks and bandanas joined the march and began throwing firecrackers at police officers.
Shahqeel Alexander McCrimmon, 19, of Durham was arrested and charged with failure to disperse on command, causing a public disturbance, and holding a demonstration while wearing a mask or hood. A 14-year-old boy was also arrested and charged with injury to property.
McCrimmon was released from jail after posting $1,500 bail. The 14-year-old was released to the custody of his parents.
Police are searching for others who damaged police property, Bonfield said.
One witness said police went after some people who were not necessarily destroying anything.
“They just grabbed people out of the street,” said Elena Everett, director of Youth Organizing Institute, a nonprofit that trains and supports Triangle high school students.
“I saw some police officers who were pretty hyped on adrenaline, literally dodge into the crowd and try to pull them out,” she said. “They had little batons. They were pulling out Tasers.”
Huerta is the third suspect to die this year while Durham police were attempting to take him into custody.