Investigate Police Department After Suspicious Teen Death

Riot police

Target: Director of Federal Bureau of Investigation, James Comey

Goal: Conduct an investigation of the Durham Police Department for violations and misconduct

Jesus Huerta, a 17-year-old boy, died in police custody on November 19, 2013. After being arrested for trespassing, Huerta was searched, cuffed, and loaded into the back of a police cruiser. The police department states that he then shot himself — with a gun they failed to find on him, while handcuffed in the back of a police car. Huerta’s family believes that the police had something to do with the teenager’s death. The family is petitioning for a federal investigation. Petition the FBI to acknowledge this request, and find out what really happened to Jesus Huerta.

Huerta’s family is claiming that the Durham Police unfairly targets Latino people. The chief of police told Spanish speaking reporters that he does not believe these allegations, but Huerta’s death is the third death since July 2013 involving the Durham Police Department, and two of those killed were Latinos.

Family and friends held a vigil for Huerta in the police department’s parking lot, which quickly turned into a march and became violent. Protesters threw rocks and bottles at police officers and vandalized the property, forcing the riot police to mobilize and disperse the crowd with batons and tear gas. Protesters claim that the riot police used excessive force, with minor injuries inflicted upon the crowd and none on the officers’ behalf.

Whether you believe the police’s story or the family’s, a federal investigation is necessary for the family’s closure and the police department’s reputation. There is evidence on both sides of the argument.  For example, tests conducted on Huerta’s gloves found gunshot residue, while tests conducted on the police officer found none. The gun was not a police firearm and authorities are investigating where the gun came from.

The FBI needs to conduct a transparent investigation of both the police and the family, searching for bias within the police force, or a criminal record on Jesus Huerta. Sign this petition to settle this matter and bring some closure within the community of Durham.


Dear James Comey,

Following the death of Jesus Huerta, where the teenager shot himself while handcuffed to the back of a police car, his family and the surrounding community are accusing the Durham Police Department of foul play. While Huerta was searched before he was taken into the car, he got a hold of a gun that wan’t a police fire arm and shot himself in the head – while handcuffed. Huerta’s family believes that there is foul play involved, since two deaths in recent months involved a Latino suspect and the Durham Police force.

The Durham community believes that the police department is committing civil rights violations, which needs to be investigated. Whether you believe the family or the police, it is crucial that an investigation is conducted. The family needs closure, the community needs to have faith in their police force, and the police themselves needs their reputation cleaned up. Therefore, I am imploring you to conduct a federal and transparent investigation into the Durham Police Force to see if these allegations of violations are true.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Jakob Sigurosson via Wikimedia

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