Durham protesters set fire outside city police headquarters; some businesses damaged

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DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — Protesters in Durham Friday night set a small fire outside the city’s police department headquarters and caused damage at some businesses downtown.

The group was protesting in part the deadly police shooting of Daunte Wright in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota earlier this week, according to a tweet by the group durham.burn, which says it is a “community of anarchist and abolitionist” group.

There appeared to be several dozen protesters who lit the fire around 8:45 p.m. Some doors and windows at businesses were shattered by the protesters, which also included members of the group NC Born, according to a tweet by that organization.

Several businesses along Mangum Street had windows broken along with some graffiti spray-painted on the buildings. Trash cans and barriers were thrown into businesses to break the glass.

An U.S. flag was also burned and fireworks were lit during the protests. The sign for the Durham police department was also defaced with graffiti.

At one point, the protesters even approached people dining out at a downtown restaurant.

Elizabeth Turnbull, the owner of the Copa restaurant, said the protesters “broke down some of the barricades — the traffic barrier that we have for outdoor dining — threw some drinks and broke some glass — minor vandalism for us. But it was very scary for the guests.”

Turnbull said the restaurant supports the cause of the protesters but did not want the demonstration to turn the way it did.

“I think we need to remember to take care of our neighbors and I wish we could do it in a way that takes care of all people,” Turnbull said.

The protesters also took rental e-scooters and placed them across at least one street.

There appeared to be about 100 protesters, who also said they were there because of the death of “Jaida,” apparently in reference to Jaida Petersen, a North Carolina transgender woman who was murdered this week.

At one point, there was a small debate between peaceful protesters and the ones causing damage about the best way to handle things.

The protests ended by 9:30 p.m.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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