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Chapel Hill town manager defends Occupy arrests

Posted January 7, 2012

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— Chapel Hill town manager Roger Stancil defended the actions of Chapel Hill police officers in the November arrests of seven Occupy protesters in a report released Friday night, saying their actions were the best decisions that could be made given the information available at the time. 

The report will be presented Monday at the Town Council's next meeting. 

According to the report, officers took the proper steps to try and communicate with protesters who had created an illegal encampment in the Yates Motor Co. building, at 419 W. Franklin St., before they entered the building and removed the protesters. 

At a Chapel Hill Town Council meeting days after the Nov. 13 arrests, some people associated with the Occupy Chapel Hill movement were upset that police used special tactics gear and entered the cold car dealership with guns drawn. 

According to Stancil, however, the actions of the Special Emergency Response Team (SERT) actions were consistent with training designed to minimize the potential for unintended consequences and injury. 

Stancil's report did highlight the need for better communication in the future when making tactical decisions that could have a larger impact on the community, but said the on-scene actions of Chapel Hill police chief Chris Blue and his assistant chiefs were consistent with their training.

Despite the overall positive tone of the report, Stancil did note the detention of two members of the media during the raid, saying that the police and press need to learn from each other and develop ways to interact at crime scenes and other situations without interfering with each other. 

Stancil says changes to the town's media relations policies are underway as a result of November's incident.

14 Comments

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  • peetk58 Jan 9, 2012

    Can't help but wonder what type of force the occupiers would consider reasonable if intruders were occupying their homes uninvited.

  • fayncmike Jan 9, 2012

    "I'm looking forward to more arrests and if possible some more hassling of the media people.

    Me too lets see the NDAA, the Patriot Act on steroids, get put to good use!
    Crumps Br0ther"

    Yup, the more cop hassle the better. 2012 is going to be great for the cause!

  • Crumps Br0ther Jan 9, 2012

    I'm looking forward to more arrests and if possible some more hassling of the media people.

    Me too lets see the NDAA, the Patriot Act on steroids, get put to good use!

  • Snookyone Jan 9, 2012

    Chapel Hill police overreacted. Putting an assalt rifle in the face of an unarmed citizen is police brutality! I'm losing respect for all policemen after a lifetime of watching such out of control macho action. Also, I have niece who is an officer and I've witnessed first-hand the agressive attitude of her and her fellow officers. To them, it's not about protecting citizens, it's about finding an excuse to use force.

  • haggis basher Jan 9, 2012

    "Get a job you bums!"

    well recent interview with one in Raliegh showed that he at least had a job......and perhaps you missed the fact that there are more unemployed right now than there are jobs so where exactly should they go?
    Better they are out actively protesting the fools that got the country into this mess than sitting at home watching TV don't you think?

  • haggis basher Jan 9, 2012

    It was a ludicrous over use of force......now if this was Texas then one would not be surprised but in Chapel Hill????
    Wouldn't surprise me if this Police Chief does not last much longer. They will likely quietly move him out in a year or so.

  • fayncmike Jan 9, 2012

    "I am glad to see that the dirty, littering occupy crowd was removed by the police and that the actions of the police were defended by the city.
    no contest"

    I too am glad the peaceful demonstrators were removed. The publicity is a great help. I'm looking forward to more arrests and if possible some more hassling of the media people.

  • no contest Jan 9, 2012

    I am glad to see that the dirty, littering occupy crowd was removed by the police and that the actions of the police were defended by the city.

    The WORKING public that pays taxes, follows the law and has respect for other people's property is very tired of you occupy types creating this mess and attempting to walk away from it all. Someone owns the property and someone has to clean up your mess.

    In my opinion if you don't like your situation then it is YOUR responsibility to change it. It is NOT the responsibility of the public, government or business to change for you. Maybe your mommy and daddy never dared teach you about personal responsibility and respect for others.

  • fayncmike Jan 9, 2012

    "You don't hear much about this so-called movement anymore. Just as I predicted.
    br549znc"

    Arrests help a lot. Hopefully there will be more of them though I imagine the movement will be somewhat subdued over the winter, especially to the north.

  • bill0 Jan 9, 2012

    "I think the key word here is "illegal"... if your breaking the law expect to suffer the consequences."

    It isn't really the consequences that are being questioned. It's the manner in which the police imposed those consequences. If you illegally squat in a building, you should expect to be arrested or ticketed. You shouldn't really expect a swat team to come swooping in.

    The real injustice is for the bystanders. The reporter covering the mess was held at gunpoint and handcuffed. They showed their press credentials, but the police didn't care. Local governments absolutely should not be allowed to arrest or detain the press members covering their actions. A free press is one of the bedrock principles of our democracy.

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