Local News

'Destruction is not the answer:' After Raleigh riots, those arrested express regret

Posted June 2, 2020 11:48 a.m. EDT
Updated June 2, 2020 7:28 p.m. EDT

— The Wake County Justice Center re-opened for Tuesday, and on the first day of regular business post-pandemic, eight of those arrested for their roles in weekend protests were on the docket.

After court, those charged described a protest that started peacefully before it grew, spurred by crowd anger, into something they regret.

"Destruction is not the answer," Dijon Pulley said. He is charged with trespassing during an emergency for actions Sunday night.

"At the same time, being quiet is not effective. I feel like a lot of people are fed up," he said.

He was among several in court Tuesday on charges linked to looting and trespassing at Midtown shopping center and stores near Triangle Town Center.

Keante Underwood said, "I'm kind of ashamed of myself, because I knew better."

Given the chance, Underwood said he would "most definitely do it differently. Not the looting, the protesting most definitely, but the looting, I would have changed that up."

More than 30 people were arrested over three days, with charges ranging from trespassing and breaking and entering to resisting arrest to assault on a government employee and inciting a riot. The vast majority were Raleigh residents, although four listed home addresses outside North Carolina.

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Neither Pulley nor Underwood had a certain answer to how the Triangle community can come together after the nights of violence, but both agreed violence is not the answer.

Attorney Damon Chetson has offered to represent any of those arrested after the Raleigh protests for free.

"Our First Amendment right to protest and to petition our government and to get angry with our government is sacred," he said, before adding, "I am absolutely not condoning any property damage that occurred."

Chetson said he witnessed when the protest turned to riot Saturday night, and he puts some of the blame on Raleigh police.

"What I saw was them being tear-gassed by Raleigh police, and I think that led to some of the events that occurred later ... which was the property destruction, the broken glass and so forth in downtown Raleigh," he said.

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