Durham police ask for peace, order at vigil for dead teen

From staff reportsDecember 19, 2013 

— Police said Wednesday that they are hoping for a "safe, peaceful and orderly" vigil downtown Thursday night for Jesus Huerta, a 17-year-old who died Nov. 19 of what police say was a self-inflicted gunshot wound while handcuffed in the back seat of a police car at department headquarters.

A statement from the department said it “has been made aware” of a 7 p.m. “march and vigil” for Huerta at the downtown CCB Plaza on East Chapel Hill Street.

Deputy Chief Larry Smith said, however, that the man who police were told is the organizer, Rafael Estrada Maya, hung up when police called him to discuss it.

A Nov. 23 vigil at the plaza turned into a march to police headquarters on West Chapel Hill Street, and some in the march broke three windows in the building and smashed a police car windshield.

People in black hooded sweatshirts and black ski masks or bandanas joined the march and threw firecrackers at officers, and police later blamed the violence on “outside agitators,” not the original marchers.

“Although no one has attempted to obtain a permit for this event, DPD will allow the event to be held. However, because details of the event cannot be obtained, streets will not be blocked for pedestrians. Participants will need to use the public plaza and sidewalks,” the statement said.

The department gave a list of “expectations” for participants:

No impeding traffic by blocking or marching upon the City streets

No entry upon the Police Headquarters parking areas or grassy areas immediately adjoining the Police Headquarters building

No possession or use of pyrotechnics

No wearing masks, hoods or devices which conceal the identity of the wearer

No damage to property

No disorderly conduct

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