Durham Police Department

James Williams
Leoneda Inge

Community organizations and faith-based groups in Durham are calling for a series of measures to help end what they call "racial profiling" by the Durham Police Department.

Representatives of the NAACP, Durham Congregations in Action, Fostering Alternatives in Drug Enforcement -- or FADE -- and several other groups are pushing for five main changes.

Southern Coalition for Social Justice logo
southerncoalition.org

 

  

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Host Frank Stasio talks with Ian Mance, a civil rights attorney for the Southern Coalition of Social Justice, and Frank Baumgartner, a political science professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Baumgartner published a statewide study tracking racial disparities in police stop-and-search practices. He later worked with the Southern Coalition for Social Justice to analyze Durham-specific data.

Durham Police Chief Jose Lopez
http://durhamnc.gov/

In the last year, the Durham Police Department has faced public criticism surrounding search policies and three police-related deaths.  The NAACP of North Carolina questioned the police actions in the case of Jesus Huerta, a 17 year-old who died in police custody.

Advocacy organizations like the Southern Coalition for Social Justice and Fostering Alternative Drug Enforcement (FADE) have raised accusations of racial profiling.

The department maintains that racial discrepancies in crime statistics do not indicate discrimination. They issued a report in response to the criticism.

In response to public outcry, the Human Relations Commission will make recommendations to the City Council for procedural reforms in police governance in May. 

Durham Police
Durham Police Department

Durham city officials are looking into a complaint that police made inappropriate payments to drug informants.

An advocacy group says police paid informants and didn’t disclose it, which is required by law.

Attorneys from the Southern Coalition for Social Justice also say police unfairly target black and Hispanic people. The department denies any wrongdoing.

City of Durham/Durhamnc.gov

    

Two local advocacy groups released documents showing the Durham Police Department made payments to informants in criminal matters.

Durham Police
Durham Police Department

An advocacy group says the Durham Police Department has been paying bonuses to crime informants for help in the conviction of suspects.

Attorneys from the Southern Coalition for Social Justice have obtained police records that they say show nine people were convicted in drug cases where an informant was paid for his testimony.

Durham County Courthouse
North Carolina Court System

The Durham district attorney says he will not criminally charge a police officer who fatally shot a knife-wielding stabbing suspect last year.

District Attorney Leon Stanback said on Thursday that his office found no probable cause for criminal charges in the death of Jose Adan Cruz Ocampo after reviewing records that included a medical autopsy and police car videos and interviewing officers, witnesses and first responders.

Police Training
Nashville.gov

In the early morning hours of November 19, Durham  youth Jesus Huerta left home. His family called 911, reported him as a troubled runaway and noted his drug problem. A Durham police officer located Huerta, frisked him, cuffed him, and put him in the back of a cruiser. Moments later, the 17 year-old was dead from a gunshot to the head. His family questions the circumstances surrounding his death.

Friends and relatives posted pictures like these of Jesus Huerta around Durham, NC
Leoneda Inge

  

Jesus Huerta died from a gunshot wound while in police custody last November. Did officers know he was at risk of killing himself? The teen's family says yes.

Durham authorities have said the officer on the scene, Samuel Duncan, had not been told the 17-year-old threatened to kill himself and used drugs before the officer picked him up the morning of Nov. 19.

But the attorney representing Huerta’s family questions that and points to this radio communication in which officers talk about Huerta having a history of drug abuse:

Friends and relatives posted pictures like these of Jesus Huerta around Durham, NC
Leoneda Inge

A teenager who Durham police say fatally shot himself while in custody last year used a .45 caliber pistol that he had concealed and an officer did not discover while frisking and arresting him, police said Friday.

Officers had picked up 17-year-old Jesus Huerta the morning of Nov. 19 because his family reported him as a runaway, police said, but emergency dispatchers did not relay warnings from the family that Huerta had threatened to kill himself.

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