–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.
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.
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.
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.
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.