Six arrested & charged at march for Jesus Huerta, who was murdered in police custody
January 21, 2014
Sunday night, a third march and vigil were held for Jesus Huerta who died two months ago. Jesus died in police custody while handcuffed in the back of a police car. Police allege that he shot himself in the head while handcuffed. In the United States, Jesus is this the third person of color alleged to have shot themselves in the head while handcuffed in the back of a police car in the last two years. Also, it is the third killing by Durham police under investigation by the SBI in recent months.
Durham riot cops have notoriously confronted and broken up or attacked previous rallies for Jesus, and this time was no different. A march of about 200 people took to the streets around 5:30 after leaving the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church chanting “JUSTICIA PARA CHUY, PRESENTE PRESENTE!” The march was going quite well, and was peaceful until lines of riot police confronted marchers and sent them scattering. Marchers then split up into groups, and headed back to the church for the vigil. Events were streamed live on Ustream, and videos from the protests and vigil as well as interviews with attendees are available here.
After police showed up, some marchers smashed windows of the police station, while others spray painted cop cars. But the majority of them were just trying to get back to the vigil without being teargassed or beaten.
Eight activists were taken into custody, and six were charged; some had not even taken part in the march and were trying to meet up with friends. One activist gave their account of the situation, and reported that while walking up the street and passing a parking lot, they saw about 10 people running down from the parking deck. Immediately, a number of police on bikes, motorcycles, in cars, and driving SUVs surrounded them and ordered them to get on the ground. One activist was kicked three times in the ribs while on the ground, and then everyone was searched. When police found nothing, they took all eight individuals into custody. Two caucasians were released immediately without charge, and two juveniles were picked up by their parents. One person made bond that night, while three others spent the night in jail, and were bonded out in the morning by a community fund. None of the individuals were arrested for vandalism, but were charged with unauthorized entry to a city parking facility, obstruction, and resisting arrest (police reportedthat the group they arrested were running from them). The activist who gave this account said, “I hope no one is discouraged by this, and I hope everyone still plans on attending the next march. I most certainly will.”
The community is holding a benefit concert to aid with the financial costs the family still faces over the death. Members of the Huerta family say they need help with burial expenses. El Centro Hispano is a nonprofit organization collecting the donations. Donations can be made directly or by mail at El Centro Hispano: 600 E. Main St. Durham, NC 27701, or through their website: elcentronc.org. In both cases designate “For Huerta Family.” Before the march, Evelin Huerta released a statement on behalf of the Huerta family clearing up rumors that the family was not in support of the marchers.