Firmer rules of conduct for protesters in Durham following violent Jesus Huerta marches

Firmer rules of conduct for protesters in Durham following violent Jesus Huerta marches.
February 6, 2014 4:01:21 PM PST
Durham city leaders say they are laying down the law, just in case marchers take to the streets in Durham in protest of the police custody death of Jesus Huerta.

On Thursday, City Manager Tom Bonfield announced new rules of conduct for anyone wanting to protest the controversial case.

The Durham City Council made the announcement at their work session Thursday, emphasizing that while the city respects the protestors' First Amendment rights; they are drawing the line at violence and vandalism.

On Nov. 19, a gunshot ended the life of the Durham teenager in the back seat of a police squad car. Every month since then, the 19th has ended with violent clashes between police and protestors and arrests, but Durham city leaders say no more.

"We recognize that there is confusion and mistrust among some people concerning the death of Jesus Huerta and others. We welcome all peaceful and lawful expressions regarding any of these matters," Bonfield said.

City leaders say vandalism resulting from the protests has cost $11,000 in property damage and up to $20,000 in police overtime.

The Durham Police Department's initial response of riot gear and tear gas made national headlines, and it even drew criticism from some city leaders.

Yet now, anyone wanting to take to the streets of Durham on Feb. 19 in honor of Jesus Huerta will have to follow some firmer rules of conduct, some of them already on the books, like the required parade permit and marching during daylight hours.

There is concern the suspected vandals may have anarchist ties. In order to prevent them from concealing their identity, the city is banning masks and hoods, pyrotechnics, and dangerous weapons, including rocks and bricks.

So far, no one has applied for a permit to march on February 19, but city leaders are prepared just in case they do.

"We expect that such activities if they occur will be met by appropriate action by our police department. This city will neither condone nor tolerate any acts of violence or vandalism," Bonfield said.

ABC11 reached out to the Huerta family attorney who says right now, the family has no plans to participate in a march on Feb. 19.

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