On November 19th, at around 2 a.m., Jesús “Chuy” Huerta was picked up by police a few blocks away from home and taken to police headquarters. Shortly thereafter Chuy was found dead while in police custody because of a gunshot wound. Chuy was only 17 years old.
The shot occurred while Chuy was in the back of a police cruiser, at the police headquarters’ parking lot. Chuy had his hands handcuffed behind his back. The police have claimed that investigations are ongoing and that they can’t say anything until the investigation is complete; however, city officials and the department itself are already trying to build a narrative through the media that attempts to relieve them of any responsibility. They have claimed that Chuy died of a self-inflicted wound expecting us to believe that a person could shoot themselves with their hands handcuffed behind their back.
We seek justice and we seek answers to Chuy’s death. After the events were announced by the media, the Durham community, with the help of communities from other cities, quickly mobilized to provide support for the Huerta family. More than 300 people marched with the family on Friday the 22nd and many people came to us after the march looking for ways in which they could help.
We are currently coordinating with many people in creating different types of emotional, legal, and financial support. The most pressing need at this moment is to cover the costs of the funeral and all other expenses related to it. As news on the state investigations develop, we will also be needing funds for legal assistance and other expenses tied to our search for justice. We need to continue to put pressure on the police department!
This will be a long and hard fight. Since August, 4 people have died in Durham in events where police were involved. So far no justice has been found regarding these cases. There have also been numerous reports of police brutality in the city and the investigations are known for being slow and insufficient. Racial disparity on arrests is currently a focus of investigation by the city’s Human Relations Commission and the police department is being pushed for answers; justice for Chuy means justice for all. Please, help us in making justice a reality and in providing help for Chuy’s family in this time of need.
All the money donated will be deposited immediately into the Huerta family memorial fund. Please donate as much as you can and share this story with friends. We need to build a better world today, because tomorrow was too late for Chuy. Tomorrow is too late for all of our children.
The police had picked up Chuy because his family (believing that the police could help) had contacted them in order for them to make sure that Chuy was safely returned home. The outcome is unacceptable, and is a reality that we need to change if we want to prevent similar destinies for Chuy’s peers.
Thank you for your support and for standing in solidarity with the Huerta family.
Organizers of the March for Justice and Friends.