Occupy Chapel Hill asks town council to review break-in arrests
Posted November 21, 2011
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Some people affiliated with Occupy Chapel Hill protested the city's response to an earlier occupation event in a vacant downtown building at the Chapel Hill Town Council meeting Monday evening.
The group is upset that police in special tactics gear with guns drawn responded to the Nov. 13 occupation of an old car dealership. Seven people were charged with breaking and entering.
Protesters demonstrated outside police headquarters and then marched to Town Hall to ask council members to form an independent committee to review the arrests.
"There's no excuse whatsoever for going in with assault weapons," said Pete MacDowell. "It's not what Chapel Hill is. It's not the values Chapel Hill and Orange County represent, and they shouldn't have done it."
About a dozen speakers urged the council to take a look at what happened and make sure it doesn't happen again.
"Why were there no attempts to talk to the people inside the building before authorizing a military-style raid?" asked Bert Gurganus.
Councilwoman Laurin Easthom proposed that the town issue an apology to two journalists arrested in the fray, but when the council deferred the decision, protesters began chanting their displeasure.
Frustrated, Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt called for a break.
The council continued with its planned agenda and tabled any official action on the requests from the Occupy group.