While handcuffed and from behind while inside the backseat of the cop car:
The Durham, NC Police Department says Jesus Huerta died on November 19 from a self-inflicted gunshot while handcuffed in the back of a police cruiser. The teen was being taken to the police station by Officer Samuel Duncan about 3 a.m. for a second-degree trespassing violation.
The chief said at the news conference that gunshot residue tests were conducted on Huerta and the arresting officer, and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation “found that Huerta was wearing gloves and that his gloves had a saturation of gunshot residue on it. Officer Duncan’s revealed that he had no gunshot residue on his hands,” Lopez said.
The gun used was not a police firearm, Lopez has said in the past, but state authorities are still investigating where the weapon came from, according to local media. Duncan is on paid administrative leave pending the investigation’s conclusion, local media reported.
Huerta’s family, along with local activists, allege police foul play in the death of Huerta, who was affectionately called “Chuy” by his loved ones. Huerta’s family has submitted a formal petition to local authorities for archives into the investigation, according to local media.
“People can see that we actually support him and that we need justice for Durham because it’s not fair that this is happening, like the police is not giving us answers,” Evelin Huerta told CNN affiliate WTVD.
A separate vigil held last month by the family also turned violent and ended in arrests. The family has said it plans to hold a protest on the 19th of every month.
“Personally, I don’t believe one word of what the Durham Police Department has stated,” local activist Lamont Lilly wrote in an article published shortly after Huerta’s death. “It seems to me, and many others throughout the city, Durham police officers are simply covering their tracks with a concocted story that makes no physical or logical sense whatsoever.”
Between 150 and 200 Huerta supporters marched Thursday from Durham City Hall to the parking lot of police headquarters. Some carried banners that read, “Fue Matado Por La Policia” or “Murdered By Police.”
A similar case in July stoked skepticism in Jonesboro, Arkansas, when Chavis Carter, 21, died from a close-range gunshot while handcuffed in the back of a police car.