Durham police chief makes statement on shootings

Police chief pledges transparency and asks for patience.
November 22, 2013 1:26:38 PM PST
Durham Police Chief Jose Lopez made a statement to the community Friday after two recent officer-involved shootings and the shooting death of a teen in police custody.

Lopez pledged transparency, and said not only have three lives been lost, but the credibility of his department is at stake.

"I certainly understand the community's concerns about the lack of available information. We realize that during the investigation process, transparency is indeed essential to maintaining your trust," said Lopez.

? Click here to read the entire statement. (.pdf) ?

But, the chief said he has to balance the community's desire to know more with concerns about not compromising the investigation by speaking prematurely.

"That would be a disservice to the SBI, the District Attorney's Office and, most importantly the victims, the families, and to you, the community," said Lopez.

The chief asked for patience while investigators and the district attorney's office do their work.

Durham City Councilman Don Moffitt told ABC11 that is supportive of Lopez.

"I have a great deal of respect for his work and for the department," said Moffitt. "My concern is with the length of time that these investigations are taking, whether it's with the SBI itself, the State Bureau of Investigation, or the Medical Examiner's Office, or the District Attorney's office. I don't know where they're being held up."

Moffitt says his criticism is with state officials for not fully funding the agencies involved in investigating the actions of police.

Lopez said his heart goes out to the family of 17-year-old Jesus Huerta, who died in police custody earlier this week,  but that it would also be improper for him to contact Huerta's family during the investigation.

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