Tased
at the
Harris Teeter

Harris Teeter site during the construction phase

Harris Teeter 9th Street site during the construction phase

–It ended with a Durham cop gloating to a Durham kid that his friend was going from the hospital to jail after being tased in the 9th Street Harris Teeter. Only to have the kid turn around to the cop and say,

“What if that was your son? What if that was your son?”

According to eyewitness Adrienne Harreveld as the emotion of the moment exploded Durham Police Office Culver had to be restrained by his supervisor as he erupted with anger screaming and shouting at the black teenager, “Don’t you bring up my son. Don’t you bring up my son.”

The Clarion Content first became aware of the incident that occurred yesterday, September 9th, in the new Ninth Street Harris Teeter through the Twitter account of Durham internet maven, Ross Grady. Grady was on a tweet binge at Harris Teeter and the Durham PD.

 

Harris Teeter Ross Grady

Harris Teeter Ross Grady 2

He brought Adrienne Harreveld to our attention.

Harreveld, a (white) Duke graduate, is a Programming Director at WXDU, works at the Duke Center for Social Equity where she runs an initiative on Poverty and Social Justice, and programs for the Research Network on Racial and Ethnic Inequality. Her office is in the Erwin Mills Complex adjacent to the Harris Teeter.

Around 5pm yesterday, she was popping into Harris Teeter for maple syrup on her way out of work.1 In the vestibule, between the sets of double doors, entering the Teeter, she encountered two black teenagers and a Durham Police officer. An argument was underway.

The officer, who was in process of handcuffing one of the teens, kept repeating, “You stole this phone didn’t you? You stole this phone didn’t you?”

As the youth pleaded, struggled, and replied, “That’s my phone. Stop. Stop.”

Harreveld mortified, but self-aware, whipped out her camera (phone) to document the scene, but before she could, the cop became aware that a middle class looking white lady was taping the proceedings, whereupon he stopped arresting the kid. The teen and his friend ran out of the store shaken and crying.

Harreveld, confused and shaken herself, entered the Harris Teeter and stumbled into the produce section to the left of the doors, attempting to catch her breath and collect her spirits.

She saw another officer, and even more police, in the distance, near the prepared salad section of the store.

“What’s going on,” she asked.

Before she could begin to comprehend the scene, she could hear one of the Durham Police officers in the salad area tell two more black teenagers, “Management told you to leave.”

One youth answered, “He told my friend to leave.” (Perhaps referring to the two teens Harreveld had encountered on her way into the Harris Teeter.)

The Durham Police Officer repeated, “You need to leave.”

And suddenly Harreveld heard a loud clap. One of the youths was down and screaming. Harreveld whipped out her camera and grabbed the video you can see here.

Screencap from Adrienne Harreveld's video

Screencap from Adrienne Harreveld’s video

As she was filming the Harris Teeter Manager on duty [aka corporate America’s representative] told her she had to stop filming immediately or he’d have the police arrest her for trespassing.

As Harreveld later learned he was within the letter of the law on private property to demand she stop filming.2

After the youth was tased, while he was still on the ground surrounded by five Durham Police Officers, he was searched. Unfortunately for the cause of ex post facto justice, nothing was found on the young man. No stolen goods. No expropriated property.

You might think, were you less of a cynic than some, that this would engender his release. You’d be wrong.

According to our eyewitness Harreveld, the police then conversed about whether they really “had” to call the paramedics for the tased young man. As a companion of the tased person and Harreveld tried to find out what the heck was going on, the police told them that the young man was still going to be arrested for trespassing and resisting arrest.

EMT arriving yesterday shot by Adrienne Harreveld

EMT arriving yesterday shot by Adrienne Harreveld

When the paramedics arrived, they insisted that the tased youth be taken to the hospital immediately.

One of the most amazing things about the whole incident was that it occurred in the five o’clock hour in front of a packed store.

Have we not changed since “Kitty” Genovese?? (Thank goodness for those Americans on the train in France or this fucking awful story, despite Harreveld’s gutty resistance, would really get me down.–Ed.)

Harreveld went out into the parking lot where the kids who had initially run out of the store crying on her way in were still sitting in shock.

They told her that they thought the Harris Teeter Manager had only asked one of them to leave. They said that they had actually been shopping for burger patties for a cookout they were attending later that evening.

Harreveld spent an hour sitting with these kids, trying to provide reassurance and support, despite her own doubts and fears about our society, our Durham Police Department.

She subsequently dropped the youths off a what was very much, self-evidently, a cookout, lending credence to at least one part of their story.

Harreveld filed a complaint with the Durham Police Department. At the Clarion Content,  we assured Harreveld that we had on more than one occasion heard Durham Police Chief Lopez say, “All complaints filed with the Durham Police Department are fully investigated.

The validity of this claim is about to be publicly tested.

Harreveld for her part believes, “this [kind of incident] happens all the time. It just rarely happens in predominately white spaces,” in front of a myriad of witnesses, we might add.

Harreveld has had her own encounters with Durham PD and has justifiable reasons to be suspicious, as she was among those arrested for peaceful exercising their First Amendment rights as part of the #BlackLivesMatter protests in Durham.3

Stay tuned here for updates.

 

 

Notes

1She told me frozen waffles awaited in the fridge. #TooReal #SocialJustice work don’t pay banker dollars. #Change #TimeforaChange #SpareChange

2A First Amendment issue that will surely face scrutiny in the years to come as the Man encroaches and people film via the omnipresent phone.

3Charges for “Failure to Disperse” and “Obstructing the Flow of Traffic” were subsequently dismissed after she performed twenty-five hours of community service.

Clarion Content

Clarion Content is a Durham-based online magazine that curates and creates the thriving culture that gives our city its identity. Our community building is only as strong as our collective contributions. Our team of curators welcomes your comments, suggestions, and concerns. We are open to all points of view, especially those that challenge and therefore stimulate our own. We also encourage reader submitted material as well as guest columnists. See something cool, outrageous, outlandish, or important? Have a great cause? Send us a note or stop by our offices at the Mothership, 401 West Geer Street inside the MotorCo complex.

14 Comments

  • Reply September 11, 2015

    Joe

    Fyi the tased individual was 24 not a youth, the group was asked to leave by Harris Tetter for eating produce, and items from the salad bar with no intentions to pay. They refused to leave. Fact the person recording the video recorded more of the incident but chose not to post the whole incident. Fact part of the group has been arrested 3 times in the past three weeks. Please do fact gathering. #ripericgarrner #ripmichealbrown

  • Reply September 11, 2015

    John Ahlers

    You missed Grady’s best tweet:

    “Like we didn’t really need any more reminders that the entire point of policing in America is to protect private property. We got it, thanks”

    https://twitter.com/rossgrady/status/641759603303292928

  • Reply September 11, 2015

    Karen

    Joe, I don’t know who you are, or if your so called “facts” are “facts” or not. The disturbing thing here is the police’s actions in how they handled the situation PERIOD!!!!. If the young man getting handcuffed outside truely stole that phone, the police officer would have continued to arrest him, instead because he noticed he was being filmed, let the young man go. For every good cop there is a bad one and we need as a society to stop the mistreatment of people period!!!!!

  • Reply September 11, 2015

    Msfitdoll

    And if it were a little old white lady eating grapes, they would have tazed her too?

  • Reply September 11, 2015

    Cindy Lewis

    The DPD’s statement:

    <<<>>>

  • Reply September 12, 2015

    Rachel

    This article sure does focus a lot on the heroic white person who saves the day, and a whole little on the stories of the actual people of color impacted by police violence. Did the author try to interview any of the teenagers?

    • Aaron Mandel
      Reply September 12, 2015

      Aaron Mandel

      Silly us! Why didn’t we waive our magic wand at 10pm, five hours after the incident, and make the teenagers magically appear? Oh wait, we could have looked up their phone numbers and addresses up in the phonebook. Why are we so lackadaisical? #GTFOH #troll

      • Reply September 12, 2015

        Molly

        I think Rachel asked a legit question. There’s no timestamp on the article, so how can readers know what time you wrote it? You could have just given her the same info without calling her a troll.

    • Aaron Mandel
      Reply September 13, 2015

      Aaron Mandel

      I apologize for inappropriately lashing out. I’m sorry.

  • Reply September 13, 2015

    Joe

    Have spoken with an employee of Harris Tetter, 2 out of 3 of the of the individuals in the incident had been previously trespassed by Harris Tetter for stealing. I know two off the individuals only one was under the age of 21 (not the individual who was tased) they were asked to leave and two left and one refused to leave. The individual who was tased resisted being escorted out. Then refused to be cuffed and struggled with police officers. And yes I believe if an old white lady was 180lbs and strong enough to resist being handcuffed she would have been tased too.

  • Reply September 15, 2015

    Chris

    I’ve been shocked at that Harris Teeter too…BY HIGH PRICES!

    /rimshot

  • Reply September 15, 2015

    Anonymous

    So your article throws race around as if to make that part of the story. Too bad you neglected to mention that the officer that tased the suspect was also African-American. I suppose that didn’t fit your narrative though.

  • Reply November 29, 2015

    Me

    It’s so easy to sit there & say what shouldn’t be done, but you morons who constantly give your unprofessional opinions have most likely NEVER been in the cops’ shoes.

    Do you fools write all about what a doctor should have done in the middle of an emergency if he only has a few moments to make a decision?

    Why do you feel qualified to comment on cops all the time. I have no doubt that if a person who NEVER did you job starting to criticize you, you’d be the first to protest.

    But you all seem to think that cops are supposed to fight everyone every day.

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