Demonstrations held in central North Carolina in response to recent police shootings

Saturday, April 17, 2021
Protests turn to vandalism in Durham; remain peaceful in Raleigh, Fayetteville
Protests were held in Raleigh, Durham and Fayetteville over recent police-involved shootings. Some windows were broken in downtown Durham by protesters turned vandals.

It was a night of protest in the Midwest on Thursday night with demonstrations near Minneapolis and Chicago over the police shooting deaths of 20-year-old Daunte Wright and 13-year-old Adam Toledo. The demonstrators demanded justice for the families and police reform.

Daunte Wright shooting: Family demands more severe charges against former Minnesota police officer Kim Potter

Tensions were already high amid the nearby trial of former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin in the death last year of George Floyd.

Thursday, Chicago officials released a graphic video showing an officer fatally shooting Toledo, a Latino boy, in March. And On Friday, transcripts were released showing that a grand jury investigating the police suffocation death of Daniel Prude last year in Rochester, New York, voted 15-5 not to charge the three officers involved in his restraint.

Adam Toledo shooting: Bodycam video of teen killed by Chicago police released

Here in North Carolina, demonstrations took place in Durham, Raleigh and Fayetteville.

The protests were peaceful in the Sandhills, where organizers made a point that speaking out against injustice did not equate to violence or destruction. Demonstrations in Raleigh also remained peaceful but in Durham, there was some damage downtown, police told ABC11

The 100, 200 and 300 blocks of East Main Street had damage, police said. Windows were broken by objects thrown through them and buildings and signs were spray painted in acts of vandalism.

Rental scooters and some trash cans were thrown into roadways but were cleared quickly

Durham Police Headquarters and the old courthouse were also vandalized with spray paint, and protesters burned a flag in front of police headquarters.

In downtown Raleigh, an anti-racism demonstration started outside the Governor's Mansion at 6:30 p.m.

In Cumberland County, government offices closed at 4 p.m. Demonstrations in Fayetteville were held early Friday evening and were peaceful in the downtown area.

Bishop McNeill, an organizer of Friday's demonstration in Fayetteville, told ABC11 that the recent deadly law enforcement-involved shootings are disheartening.

"It's hard to find a Black man in America who hasn't experienced, you know whether it be judgment on the hands of police or misconduct," McNeill said.

About 30 people marched around the Market House and stood by the controversial historic building for a few hours in solidarity for the lives of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Daunte Wright, and Adam Toledo.

The group wants city leaders to create a citizen's oversight board with substantial power to keep Fayetteville PD accountable; they also want FPD to reevaluate its de-escalation methods.

"I love this city, I live in this city, and I don't want to miss out on the opportunity to make some significant changes in this city," McNeill said.

Mario Be, another organizer, highlighted their peaceful method of speaking out against injustice.

"Not a single brick was thrown, not a single brick was shattered. Don't let them fool you into thinking there is anything threatening about fighting for justice," Be said.

Organizers said they plan to peacefully demonstrate in downtown Fayetteville every single Friday evening until May 31 to signify the start of the George Floyd protests in 2020.

ABC11 will have full coverage of the demonstrations Friday night on Eyewitness News.