Local News

Durham police: Protesters threw firecrackers, smoke bombs

Posted November 27, 2013

Map Marker  Find News Near Me

— Durham Police Chief Jose Lopez said Wednesday that a protest on Friday evening over the death of a teen in police custody became unruly when people not associated with the initial gathering began to throw road flares, firecrackers and smoke bombs at Durham Police Headquarters. 

About 200 people marched from downtown Durham to the police headquarters on West Chapel Hill Street Friday evening, protesting the death of Jesus Huerta, a 17-year-old who died in the back of a police cruiser on Nov. 19. 

Huerta's family led the protest through the streets, carrying signs that said "Durham needs a new police chief."

According to Lopez, there were two separate groups of protesters. 

"The demonstrators, who did not have the proper permits for such an event on the plaza, were apparently joined by a group of outside protesters who we believe did not share the concerns of the original group of demonstrators," Lopez said in a statement. "We believe the outsiders joined the protest for the sole purpose of causing disruption and damage."

Several windows were damaged at the Durham Police Headquarters, and Lopez said the side window of an unoccupied police cruiser was also damaged. According to investigators, some protesters attempted to throw lit road flares underneath parked vehicles. No injuries were reported.

In his statement released Wednesday, Lopez accused the group of being associated with the anarchist movement. 

"Several people in the crowd were wearing masks and multiple layers of clothing which allowed them to slip back into the crowd and remove the masks and top layers of clothing, thus making them harder to identify," he said. "According to our investigators, the behavior, clothing, tactics and tools used by these individuals are consistent with persons involved in the anarchist movement."

Alexander McCrimmon, 19, of Durham, was arrested and charged with failure to disperse on command, holding a meeting/demonstration while wearing a mask or hood and causing a public disturbance. He was released from the Durham County jail after posting a $1,500 bond.

A 14-year-old was also charged with injury to property. His name was not released, and he was released into the custody of his parents, police said.

"We believe that the group of original demonstrators planned to hold a peaceful march, since many in the crowd left when the demonstration became unruly," Lopez said. 

Police have not said how Huerta died, but his family members say investigators told them he had a gunshot to the head.

Officer Samuel Duncan was transporting Huerta to police headquarters on West Chapel Hill Street. In radio communication, Duncan described hearing "shots fired." He jumped from the moving car, and the patrol car rolled into a van and came to rest with Huerta in the back seat.

Lopez said the investigation of Huerta's death, led by the State Bureau of Investigation, precludes him from releasing more details. Duncan has been placed on administrative leave with pay pending the outcome of the SBI review, which is standard procedure.

Anyone with information about the protest should call Durham Crime Stoppers at 919-683-1200.

47 Comments

This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • Classified Nov 27, 2013

    “It is why gang members are charge individually for the collective crimes of the gang.”

    As you say “learn the laws of this country”. The gang members are known collectively as accomplices. Once again the article clearly states that the “people not associated with the initial gathering” were responsible for the rioting. Sounds like the real crux of this issue is racism.

  • fedora Nov 27, 2013

    Something in and around the Durham PD and the SBI stinks. The SBI just found no wrong doing in the investigation of the Hamlet, NC police dept and a local judge selling people's cars. The SBI is still as crooked as it was 10 years ago.

  • A person Nov 27, 2013

    Really? Since as the article clearly states that the “people not associated with the initial gathering” were responsible for the rioting why don’t they hold those responsible for the damage accountable, not the parents.

    Yes, they should have to pay for it. It is like , if you go to rob a store and you bring friends that do it for you. you are still reponsible for th eactions of others. It is why gang members are charge individually for the collective crimes of the gang. please learn the laws of this country before coming here and breaking them, as most Americans know the laws of the land

  • paganwretch Nov 27, 2013

    I think the threshold for a protest has been surpassed and escalated into RIOT status.

  • Classified Nov 27, 2013

    “Since the kids parents lead the march and some windows got broken at a public building, the parents of the kid should be held responsible and have to pay for them”

    Really? Since as the article clearly states that the “people not associated with the initial gathering” were responsible for the rioting why don’t they hold those responsible for the damage accountable, not the parents.

  • BeastieBoy Nov 27, 2013

    Fact is, if the cop had seen the gun when jr pulled it out, he would have been shot multiple times by him and all his buddies that would have come from miles around to help
    A person

    BINGO! RIGHT ON TARGET. GOOD CALL!

  • A person Nov 27, 2013

    The last thing any of us should want is a rushed investigation that ends up with the wrong conclusion.

    MarvinsWife12

    Exactly, then a bill for all the damage, investigation, funeral, and any other expense can be sent to the parents of the kid that caused all of this

  • A person Nov 27, 2013

    Since the kids parents lead the march and some windows got broken at a public building, the parents of the kid should be held responsible and have to pay for them

  • MarvinsWife12 Nov 27, 2013

    People! This is not Law & Order or CSI where answers are found and the prep is convicted in an hour. Investigations take time and releasing information before completing the investigation hampers any chance of prosecuting anyone.

    The last thing any of us should want is a rushed investigation that ends up with the wrong conclusion.

  • A person Nov 27, 2013

    "Interesting how they have all that information to release on suspects they arrest but have nothing to release when they are the suspects. goode88"

    You can't possibly REALLY be asking that question....smh

    Click to view my profile scubagirl2

    That would be because prior to arresting someone, there is usually a completed investigation. In this case the kid decided to kill himself in a car owned by the city of Durham. that requires an extensive investigation at tax payer expense and no results will ever be released in such a case until the investigation is complete. See, the "complete " word shows up again in reference to the word "investigation"

More...