Statement from Chief Davis - In recent days, there have been numerous communications and inquiries regarding the actions of Durham police officers who responded to 2819 Rochelle St. on August 21st to investigate a “suspicious person with a weapon” call. The caller described an individual at a particular building as having a gun and drugs, and further asserted that he was believed to have been involved in a prior shooting.
Durham police officers had already responded to weapons-related calls earlier in the day at this same address. Upon their arrival, Durham police officers believed an individual behind the building was the suspect. It was not until the young man was detained that officers realized he was not the suspect, but rather, a 15-year-old resident of Rochelle Manor. Given the nature of the call, officers did have weapons initially drawn; however, they were holstered upon realizing that the detained individual was not the suspect.
Based on preliminary review of video footage, guns were not pointed at the heads of any individual on the scene. Regrettably, an 8-year-old had witnessed the incident. I met with the families immediately following the incident and have had conversations with them in the last couple of days. We recognize that the current climate of adverse encounters by police in communities of color around the nation continue to resonate. DPD’s goal is to improve our relationships with the community by leading with and implementing reforms that promote a safe and trusting environment.
A thorough internal investigation is underway, and I, as Chief, have expressed to the families my sincere remorse that this incident even occurred. DPD remains committed to responding to all our residents’ public safety needs with the utmost care and concern for everyone involved. We are not a perfect police department, but to become better, we must continue to strengthen our relationship with the community through partnerships and trust, which has already begun with residents and leaders in this particular community and throughout the city.
Cerelyn J. Davis, Chief of Police