Extremely Gross and Dangerously Stupid: a Response to City Councilman Steve Schewel’s Defense of the Durham Police
“We would propose that Steve Schewel is not worried about the violence of his police force, whose members he seems to regard as big blue angels, but rather the possibility of a visible, popular, and confrontational opposition to that violence. How else can one interpret his statement that police violence must be ‘proportional to the situation’? Steve Schewel does not desire a Durham without police violence; he wants a Durham where that violence is institutionalized and managed in such a way as to be omnipresent but entirely invisible. The function of that violence, in turn, is to invisibly preserve in a hundred ways the world many of us already inhabit: poverty, addiction, racism, sexism, alienation, and despair.”
On December 19th, a group of about 200 people assembled at CCB plaza to march on Durham Police Department headquarters, with the goal of family members and friends praying at the stated site of Chuy Huerta’s death, and for all to be able to voice their outrage at the DPD. As the march began, candles were lit and roses were carried; two large banners joined many small signs. A diverse crowd of hundreds, not a mere handful of “agitators,” screamed “Cops, Pigs, Murderers!” and “No Justice No Peace Fuck the Police!” at the top of their lungs.
The family led the march to the DPD parking lot, but were met by fifty police officers who threatened to arrest them. The crowd of angry youth and friends encircled the family, using a wall of black banners and their bodies as protection while the family prayed at a makeshift shrine of candles and flowers. The police eventually forced them off the property, calling out a countdown over a bullhorn and threatening to storm the gathering. The group that returned to CCB plaza was undoubtedly incensed at the provocation, but was beginning to disband after exchanging contacts. The police, outfitted in riot gear, then charged the crowd in the park, tearing apart banners and hurling smoke canisters. People linked arms to slow down the charge while parents and small children escaped the park. Cops repeatedly struck retreating people in the back of the head and began to launch tear gas in downtown Durham. (more…)