A group of almost entirely white protesters damaged dozens of downtown Durham businesses Wednesday night in what city leaders are calling a “co-opting” of nationwide demonstrations in response to the cops that killed Breonna Taylor avoiding indictment. 

According to the News & Observer, the protest was organized by a group called “DurhamBurn” that told demonstrators to meet at CCB Plaza at 7 p.m. Wednesday for “JUSTICE FOR BREONNA.” 

Taylor was killed in a barrage of gunfire when police conducted a late-night raid on her home in March. A grand jury announced this week that Taylor’s killers would not be indicted in her death, although former officer Brett Hankison was charged with three counts of reckless endangerment. 

Durham’s protest was relatively small, just 50 people, according to ABC 11. Windows were smashed at about 40 businesses, including at the former Harold Sun building and offices on Blackwell Street. 

There wasn’t any looting, Police Chief C. J. Davis said at a press conference this morning, but DPD headquarters was spray-painted with the words “revenge” and “burn it down.”

The damage appeared to be caused by anarchists clad in black, Davis suggested. Minister Paul Scott described the group as “95 percent white,” according to News & Observer.

“I don’t want to see Black people used as political pawns,” Scott told the N&O. “There is a political civil war going on right now between the left and the right, and Black people use being used as pawns in the middle.”

“The folks who inflicted this damage were white,” Durham Mayor Steve Schewel said during the morning press conference. “This is an attempt to co-opt a racial justice movement.”


Chief C.J. Davis says the police department plans to have more of a visible presence after last night’s events, despite noting that local protesters have caused little damage since the Black Lives Matter protests gained traction in June. A curfew, however, isn’t on the table yet. 

“That is the strategy we feel we have to take at this point,” Davis said. “Not in an antagonistic way but in a manner that our community members know that we’re there and we’re paying attention.

“What we also don’t want to do is create a confrontation while we have other citizens or other visitors to our city who may be enjoying a peaceful dinner or the sights of our wonderful downtown area, and then they get caught up in the fray of a violent confrontation between the police and individuals like those that showed up last night.”

Follow Raleigh News Editor Leigh Tauss on Twitter or send an email to ltauss@indyweek.com

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2 replies on “Downtown Durham Businesses Vandalized After Mostly White Protesters “Co-opt” Breonna Taylor Demonstration”

  1. Please tell us that there is an actual building downtown called the “Harold Sun” so that we are assured that The Indy would not misspell “Herald Sun.”

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