DURHAM — Investigators are trying to determine if self-described anarchists were responsible for damage to Durham Police headquarters during a Friday night march protesting a teenager’s death in the back seat of a police car.
Police Chief Jose Lopez said Monday the investigation is ongoing.
Nearly 200 people gathered for a peaceful protest Friday in remembrance of Jesus Huerta, 17, the Riverside High School student who died from a gunshot wound while in the back of a police car.
As the march moved from CCB Plaza to police headquarters, it picked up followers. Some wore black-hooded sweatshirts, ski masks and bandanas and began yelling at police and throwing firecrackers at officers, the headquarters building and police cars.
One police vehicle was damaged as well as the windows of the building. Two people were charged.
Lopez called Chapel Hill Police Chief Chris Blue after the protest, Blue said.
The masked people looked similar to self-described anarchists who occupied vacant buildings in Chapel Hill and Carrboro in recent years. Friday’s march also occurred during the weekend of an anarchist book fair in Chapel Hill. Blue said it was a reasonable inference.
“I drew a similar conclusion,” Blue said, but added, “We don’t have any concrete information.”
Rafael Estrada, a march organizer, released a statement Monday maintaining that neither the march organizers nor the Huerta family were involved in the damage in any way.
“The windows will be replaced, but Chuy’s (Huerta’s) life can’t be brought back,” said the statement, signed “Organizers of the March for Justice.”
“Justice for Chuy means justice for all; it means the end of racial profiling, the end of assuming that every brown or black youth that is on the street is a criminal, the end of constant aggression by the police against communities of color,” the statement continued. “The windows are a distraction; what we want is justice.”
Staff writer Mark Schultz contributed to this story.
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