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Emotions high at public hearing about Durham police

October 1, 2013 8:29:43 PM PDT
A study by a UNC professor shows African-Americans in North Carolina are not treated fairly by police. That racial profiling may be the driving force behind many traffic stops, searches and arrests.

Click here to see the full study.

It's a problem many say is happening in Durham among the police force. Durham's mayor asked the Human Relations Commission to look into the issue, and they held a public hearing Tuesday night on the subject.

What they quickly found out was that there was a lot of anger.

Many stood before the commission saying why they think racial profiling is rampant among Durham police. They shared stories including one of a missing child of an African-American mother who could not get an alert issued.

However, when a white man called, "Five minutes, two squad cars arrived, and within an hour a silver alert was passed."

They also shared numbers.

"Blacks in Durham are 400 percent more likely to be arrested for misdemeanor marijuana possession than whites," said one woman.

"Marijuana use between blacks and whites is virtually the same," said another woman.

That shows what they call the two sides of Durham -- one for whites, and one for blacks.

Durham Mayor Bill Bell was first to address the crowd, but he angered them by acknowledging these accusations as allegations.

"He came here tonight and tells you that you can't concede or precede anything coming from us because it's under investigation," said a man.

He also stated the police have an enormous job.

"Well, I think the city council has a bigger responsibility to us," said a woman.

Members of the Human Relations Commission did not respond. They were only there to listen and later evaluate these concerns to make a recommendation of possible action to the city.

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