Local News

Chapel Hill will not hire independent investigator to probe Occupy arrests

Posted January 31, 2012

— Chapel Hill's town leaders will not hire an independent investigator to look into the police response to an Occupy Chapel Hill protest at the Yates Motor Co. building in November. 

Seven people were arrested Nov. 13, 2011 after police say more than 70 attendees from an anarchist book fair broke into the Yates Motor Co. building, at 419 W. Franklin St, to align themselves with the Occupy movement. Chapel Hill police defended the force used in the arrests, saying two days after the arrests that riot gear and assault rifles were necessary to raid the building. 

Town authorities conducted an internal investigation into whether police were too aggressive, and concluded earlier this month that their actions were appropriate. According to the report, officers took the proper steps to try and communicate with protesters who had created an illegal encampment before they entered the building and removed the protesters.

Chapel Hill Town Manager Roger Stancil said an independent investigator would have no advantage over that internal investigation because he or she could not compel people associated with the incident testify.

Leaders also cited the public nature of an independent investigation, saying it might cause people to withhold information that may further the possibility of them being charged or convicted in the incident. 

Despite the decision not to move forward with an independent investigation, Chapel Hill's Communications and Public Affairs Department will set up a website and invite and people with first-hand knowledge of the incident to submit that information online. 

All accounts of the November incident would be made public and be available on the town's website.

Leaders said new information that raises questions not addressed in the initial investigation could result in the retention of an independent investigator at a later time. 


This story is closed for comments.

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  • Ex-Republican Feb 1, 2012

    "You seem to be right, Bartmeister, no one seems to care that we're militarizing our Republic. That's so very sad."

    No cares that we have a bunch of brainwashed young people thinking they're taking the moral high ground by breaking and entering into private property. And that's happening all over this country!

  • jayhurst Feb 1, 2012

    You seem to be right, Bartmeister, no one seems to care that we're militarizing our Republic. That's so very sad.

  • jayhurst Feb 1, 2012

    I am well aware of what law enforcement must endure, didisaythat, and I count cops among my friends and colleagues. I am aware it's dangerous work. I am also aware that not every potentially dangerous situation calls for a SWAT assault, as is law enforcement itself. Otherwise, we would see these teams responding to every one of the most consistently dangerous police calls, domestic violence intercession.

  • dws Feb 1, 2012

    "Jayhurst, what you should do is get a job in law enforcement and see what it is really like. You will change your thought process in a hurry"

    Amen to that! Plan for the worst, manage the situation with control of emotions and pray extreme force is not required.

  • Bartmeister Feb 1, 2012

    Nobody cares about this.

  • didisaythat Feb 1, 2012

    Jayhurst, what you should do is get a job in law enforcement and see what it is really like. You will change your thought process in a hurry

  • jayhurst Jan 31, 2012

    Three questions, which a citizen can get answered through the Open Records Act (yes, I am working on it myself too):

    1. How many jurisdictions across the Triangle (or NC) have SWAT/SERT teams, totaling how many troops in each jurisdiction?
    2. How much of each jurisdiction's annual budget is spent on SWAT/SERT?
    3. What other sources contribute to each jurisdiction's SWAT/SERT costs and upkeep, and how much?

    There are times when these tactics are appropriate. Those times should be spelled out in a strictly-enforced writing, for all of our safety.

  • jayhurst Jan 31, 2012

    Yes, JohnDrescher, this IS about whether We, as citizens, want our civilian law enforcement defaulting to paramilitary enforcement tactics and special operations. I speak out because, whether the thick of the Triangle want to deal with it, these tactics are killing innocent Americans -- and taking our values with them.

    It is very difficult to face that difficult truth, that COPS drama isn't making us safer. But I promise, as soon as this Nation has written and enforced policies regarding civilian use of paramilitary force, I'll quit speaking up.

  • fayncmike Jan 31, 2012

    ""And put Krispe-Kreme out of business?" fayncmike

    How original, a cop doughnut joke, never heard that before, yawn.

    The classics are timeless.

  • Ex-Republican Jan 31, 2012

    The Occupiers are so extreme that even the typical Chapel Hill liberals don't want to have anything to with them.