Durham Mayor Bill Bell vows to fight poverty in city

Durham Mayor Bill Bell

February 3, 2014 7:10:44 PM PST
Mayor Bill Bell turned the focus to poverty in his annual State of the City address Monday evening.

The mayor said poverty contributes to crime and efforts need to be made to provide affordable housing and revitalize neighborhoods.

Bell did not mention the recent controversies surrounding the Durham Police Department.

When pressed about the Jesus Huerta case after his address, Bell would only say the investigation is ongoing and he doesn't want to prejudice that.

"Durham is a lot bigger than that -- a lot bigger than that, and I'm not demeaning what has happened in that respect," said Bell. "I certainly feel for the loss of the young man and his family. All of us do. The community does, but the community must go on."

Investigators say 17-year-old Huerta shot and killed himself while handcuffed in the back of a police cruiser at Durham Police Department headquarters back in November.

While investigators say Huerta was searched after he was arrested, they say he apparently had a .45 caliber pistol hidden somewhere on his person that the arresting officer did not find.

They're calling the death a suicide, and the Durham County District Attorney said that he did not find probable cause to file any criminal charges in the case.

The controversial case has led to multiple protests in Durham that have ended with violence and arrests.

Click here to read Bell's entire address.

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