Protesters continue to occupy Durham police department, demand more than city’s $1 million plan for police alternatives

Durham County News

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – Protests continue in front of the Durham Police Department as a group of several protesters has been camped out in front of police headquarters for almost two days.

While the city has set aside $1 million that will go toward looking at alternatives for policing, protesters are demanding the city do more to help out the black community.

About a handful of protesters spent the night in front of police headquarters Tuesday night and during the day on Wednesday about a dozen people gathered there to show their support for the cause.

“We’re here for the long-haul,” said Skip Gibbs, organizer of the protest.

Gibbs said the protesters are demanding the city reallocate funds from Durham police and put it toward housing, jobs, and businesses in the black community.

“Until they come out here and prove to us that their method works better than ours, we’re going to stay out here,” Gibbs said.

On Monday, Durham City Council approved setting aside $1 million that will go toward looking at alternatives to policing. City officials said right now they do not know where the funding will come from.

City Councilman Mark Anthony Middleton said some of these funds will go toward creating a community safety task force.

“Part of it will fund the work of that committee and the other part will go to funding whatever initiatives and proposals they put forth,” Middleton said.

Middleton said the city is also going to be auditing 911 calls to see what calls can be assigned to mental health responders rather than armed officers.

“I am absolutely committed to doing things, and I know my colleagues are as well, to make police less necessary,” Middleton said.

However, the protesters argued that these efforts from the city do not meet their demands.

Gibbs said they want to know exactly what the city plans to do to help the black community.

“I think they think if they give us antiquated forms of ‘hey man, let’s work together,’ then that’ll make us say ‘hey, we’ll go home.’ But no, our home is this,” Gibbs said. “Until they can come out here and convince us personally face-to-face that what they do works, we’re going to stay here.”

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