Durham mother pens open letter about Huerta protests

An open letter is circulating online from a Durham mother about the recent vigil for Jesus Huerta that turned violent.
December 26, 2013 9:00:00 PM PST
An open letter is circulating online from a Durham mother about the recent vigil for Jesus Huerta that turned violent.

Huerta is the teen who died in custody from what police say was a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Much has been said so far about the incident.

"Our heart goes out to this family," said Steve Schewel.

"The citizens of Durham need to have some answers," said Durham City Councilman Eddie Davis.

Now things have been written about the mysterious death of a Durham teenager in police custody and a peaceful vigil that turned violent.

The latest to join Durham's police chief, other city leaders, and citizens sounding off on social media is a Durham mother who's penned an emotion open letter.

"My bottom line is we need to be very concerned about with the willingness of the Durham Police Department to use violence against a non-citizen," said Jillian Johnson. "And we need to, as a community, be dealing with that issue right away.

The police chief says his officers were threatened during that march commemorating the day Huerta was found dead in the back of a police squad car. Some vigil participants deny the officers were in any danger before they used tear gas on the crowd.

Johnson says the outcome of the most recent vigil has left some people afraid to participate in future demonstrations.

"We need to have accountability," said Johnson. "We need to have the police department held accountable for their actions by the communities that are being most affected."

While police say Huerta died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound while handcuffed, it's a scenario Johnson writes many still struggle with.  So along with the answers police have provided, are questions.

The SBI's investigation, the police department's internal report on the incident as well as its review of the recent vigil, are not complete, according a spokesperson for the police department and the attorney general's office.

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