Durham mayor says white anarchists took over racial justice protest, causing damage to businesses

Durham County News

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — More than a dozen businesses in downtown Durham are picking up after a protest for Breonna Taylor turned destructive on Wednesday night.

City officials said 13 businesses were vandalized after a group of 60 to 75 protesters marched through downtown and some started busting out windows to different businesses in the area.

Patrick Madison, a bartender and supervisor at Tabernas Tapa Diner on West Main Street, said protesters busted out one of the windows to their business.

“It’s unfortunate,” Madison said. “It really puts a kind of dark light on some of the positivity of what’s going on.”

During a press conference on Thursday, city leaders said a majority of Wednesday night’s protesters were not there to express anything that had to do with the outcome of the Breonna Taylor case.

“The folks that were inflicting the damage last night were white,” said Mayor Steve Schewel. “I want to be clear, there is an indication that this is an attempt to co-opt a racial justice movement.”

The group that advertised the protest on social media is a group of anarchists with Durham BURN.

The group is part of the BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) Underground Resistance Network from the Triangle.

A flier was posted on the group’s Twitter page on Wednesday that said a “Breonna Taylor” protest would be held at 7 pm on Wednesday at CCB plaza.

However, Durham Police Chief C.J. Davis said the police department was not notified about the protest.

“We were prepared last night for some of our usual types of protests with minimal staff, but certainly we were not prepared to respond to the level of activity that we did last night,” Davis said.

She said after what happened last night Durham Police will have to increase visibility at these protests but they will still continue their non-confrontational approach.

“We don’t know what the next days could look like, so the Durham Police Department will be very strategic in ensuring that we have individuals close enough on standby to respond quickly,” Davis said.

CBS 17 reached out to the group Durham BURN for a comment but we have not heard back.

According to the group’s Twitter, the next protest will be in Raleigh at Nash Square at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, September 26th.

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