After more than a week of camping outside the Durham (NC) Police Department to protest the new city budget which preserves funding to the department, protesters have blocked the road in front of the building.
WRAL News, the Raleigh-Durham NBC affiliate, was informed shortly after 3 a.m. Thursday that protesters had used pallets to erect a barricade, blocking the entrance to the building at 602 E. Main Street.
Breaking News: Protesters block road outside Durham Police Headquarters https://t.co/M2wWlw1OF8
— WRAL NEWS in NC (@WRAL) June 25, 2020
That protester told WRAL:
“This is us saying we can’t wait anymore.”
The group has grown steadily since June 16, when the first protesters pitched their tents in response to passage of next year’s budget. By June 24 the encampment had grown substantially and was starting to look like the streets of downtown Los Angeles in these photos from local news photographer (and friend of Jen) Chad Flowers.
Protesters have literally “moved in” at the Durham Police Department. About 10 tents have been erected at the front…
The group’s leaders said after the budget passage they would “protest peacefully” in front of the police department until more funding is given “underserved” communities in Durham.
Skip Gibbs, who leads the Other American Movement, or OAM, said the group is upset about the additional funding approved for police and feel that the new budget does not reflect what the community really needs.
The group wants to see more invested in undeserved communities, programs and public housing.
Durham’s new budget includes “$1 million toward a Safety and Wellness Task Force, but protestors say that’s not enough.”
Durham City Councilman Mark-Anthony Middleton sought common ground with the protesters, saying:
“Do you take the money from police now and put it into programs? Or do you fund the programs, while funding the police and as those programs have efficacy, you can start to ramp down how much you put into policing? That’s kind of where I am,” he said.
Again, that was not enough for the protesters, who seem to have lost patience.
Durham police have not responded to a request for comment as of the time of publication.