Police, protesters, patrons converge at DPAC; 31 arrested
Posted December 5, 2014
Updated December 6, 2014
Durham, N.C. — Hundreds of people marched in downtown Durham Friday evening, and 31 were arrested, in another round of protests against what demonstrators call over-aggressive police tactics.
Crowds and cops converged outside the Durham Performing Arts Center just before 10 p.m., where one show was letting out and another was about to begin.
When police asked protesters to keep moving, a few refused, and they were taken into custody, according to Police Chief Jose Lopez.
"We are using the tactics that we know to keep our officers safe, to keep the protesters safe and also the community," Lopez said. "This disruption is neither civil nor is it right."
Officials at the Durham County jail said the protesters were released early Saturday.
Nineteen of the protesters were from Durham. Others arrested were from Chapel Hill, Apex, Raleigh, Hillsborough, Graham, Carrboro, Concord and Colorado Springs, Colorado. Charges included failure to disperse and impeding the flow of traffic.
Chelsea Amanda Flowers, 29, of Durham, was also charged with resisting, delaying or obstructing officers.
Those arrested included:
- Austin Marie Bouton, 24, of Durham
- Susan Catherine Edgerton, 32, of Durham
- Adrienne Liege Harreveld, 21, of Durham
- Tamika Monique Heard, 21, of Durham
- Aaron Alexander Caldwell, 21, of Raleigh
- Susan Anne Pietroluongo, 23, of Apex
- Akeem Zarhar Cheek, 29, of Durham
- Morgan Anne Brooks, 25, of Raleigh
- Sara Taylor, 26, of Durham
- Allison Charlotte Swaim, 26, of Durham
- Kathleen Rebecca Yow, 28, of Hillsborough
- Kellie Ann Grubbs, 28, of Graham
- Alexandria Leigh Stewart, 22, of Durham
- Masha Taskindoust, 21, of Durham
- Dominique A. Beaudry, 21, of Concord
- Gabrielle Karine Beaudry, 18, of Concord
- Laurin Michelle Gioglio, 29, of Carrboro
- Natalie Frances Smith, 33, of Durham
- Kenneth M. Strickland, 29, of Durham
- John Charles Thornton, 28, of Durham
- Crystal Larence Eatmon, 19, of Durham
- Rachel Anna Cotterman, 26, of Hillsborough
- Danielle Katherine Nelson, 22, of Durham
- Lauren Brooks Parker, 30, of Durham
- Erin Bree Heuerman, 32, of Durham
- Asha Renee Godfrey, 22, of Graham
- McKenna Elizabeth Ganz, 21, of Colorado Springs, Colorado
- Abigail Victoria Harris, 25, of Chapel Hill
- Lydriquez Blount, 26, of Durham
- Charles William Soeder, 28, of Durham
Overall, the protest was peaceful, with officers on foot and bicycle tracking along as the march left CCB Plaza and headed along Mangum Street to the Durham Freeway. No one was hurt and there were no reports of significant property damage.
Two miles of the highway were closed for about 20 minutes as some people laid on the asphalt, some held hands to form a barrier across the traffic lanes, and others approached police cars with their hands in the air. Drivers were advised to use Interstates 40, 85 and U.S. Highway 15/501 to go around the area.
Deputy Durham Police Chief Larry Smith said his officers balanced the right of the public to demonstrate with the need to keep law and order for others.
But Lopez said his patience with protesters is wearing thin.
"It’s putting people in danger at this point and time," he said. "It’s not sending a message. If they need to speak, we’re here and we are ready."
Protests – ranging from peaceful processions to riotous arson – have taken place across the country over the past two weeks, first in reaction to a grand jury decision in Ferguson, Mo., and then linked to a similar case in New York City. In each case, a young black man died in a confrontation with white police officers. And in each case, a grand jury declined to recommend criminal charges for the officers involved.
Hundreds rallied in both Raleigh and Durham Thursday, often chanting "Black lives matter." At North Carolina State University Friday afternoon, students laid on the floor in a "die-in" and shouted at passing traffic on Western Boulevard. Overall, protests in the Triangle have been vocal but not disruptive.