Multiple news outlets are reporting on this story and its aftermath now. The most notable new development is DPD Chief Lopez’s press conference defending his department’s response last night (via WRAL):
Chief Jose L. Lopez Sr. said Friday that his officers acted appropriately Thursday night when they used force to end what had been billed as a peaceful candlelight vigil by about 200 people protesting the death of 17-year-old Jesus Huerta. Six young people were arrested, including a 15-year-old girl, according to police.
Lopez said Friday that his officers responded with force at Thursday’s vigil only after some in the crowd threw bottles and rocks, with one about the size of a baseball hitting the face shield of an officer’s helmet. No officers were injured.
In addition, he mentioned some new findings from the SBI investigation (via Indy Week):
Lopez also gave an update to the SBI investigation into Huerta’s death. He said that lab analysis showed that gunshot residue was left on the gloved hands of Huerta, while no gunshot residue was left on the hands of Officer Samuel Duncan, who was driving the car.
This of course backs the official position of the DPD which has asserted that Huerta shot himself while in police custody.
TheDurhamNewsDotCom also covered this story, noting that a 15 year old girl was among those arrested for trespassing during the protest.
Huerta’s family issued a very strong and frankly kind of disturbing statement via its attorney:
“What is the Durham police chief afraid of? Why would he send riot police out against a grieving mother holding a flower and candle for her dead son? She was threatened with arrest along with the rest of the family,” the statement said. “He sent troops in battle regalia against people holding Our Lady of Guadalupe candles and signs asking for justice. But he can’t stop prayers with force, and he can’t stop the truth from coming out. In a surprising admission, police headquarters was surrounded by crime scene tape last night.”
This kind of scenario is incredibly dangerous; when protests turn violent, LEOs have to respond somehow, but when they respond in this manner, it reinforces the perception that LEOs are the enemy.
I’ll update this post throughout the day if new information comes to light.