Protesters marched to Durham Police Department headquarters Friday to accuse five officers of drawing their weapons on three Black children aged 8, 11 and 15 outside their homes in Rochelle Manor apartments on Aug. 21.
The eldest, Jaylin Harris, ended up in handcuffs because he fit an alleged description of a suspect. According to a letter written by Durham Police Chief Cerelyn Davis, he was mistaken for a “suspicious person with a weapon.”
Over 100 protesters, including several parents with young children, came out and chanted slogans like “Rochelle boys matter” and “Black moms matter.” The organizers demanded body camera footage of the incident, the phone call which dispatched officers to the scene and commitment from Durham Police Department to reform community policing.
“Aside from transparency, the very bare minimum of speaking directly to these moms, we want to know that Durham police is committed to doing the work,” organizer Sarah Hinton said.
The protest began at Durham City Hall. Ashley Harris, Jaylin’s mother, and Makeba Hoffler, mother of Zakarryya Cornelius, the eight year-old confronted by police, spoke to demonstrators with their sons.
Harris said they want city officials to hold people accountable.
"We have to pull that from them,” she said.
Harris said the past weeks have been overwhelming. She’s had meltdowns, but said protesters’ support and love fuels her.
“When you wrong somebody you make it right, you fix it. And they're not trying to do that,” Harris said. “Home doesn't feel like home. They robbed us of our peace of mind, his childhood.”