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Durham changes protest rules following Huerta marches

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DURHAM, N.C. -

Durham city leaders are changing the way it allows citizens to protest and march in the Bull City.

The decision, which was approved Thursday, comes after a series of marches following the death of 17-year-old Jesus Huerta.

Huerta, a tenth grade student at Riverside High School, was killed Nov. 19, 2013 from a self-inflicted gunshot wound while he was handcuffed in the back seat of a Durham police car.

Since the teen's death, there have been three marches in Durham over the frustration with the Durham Police Department and its handling of the case.

During some of those marches, protestors ignored both city ordinances and state statutes by marching at night without a permit and damaging public and private property. Some demonstrators were arrested.

According to city officials, the marches have cost taxpayers more than $11,000 in vandalism and graffiti removal and up to $20,000 in police overtime.

Durham City Council members worked this week to finalize the rules. Now, anyone wishing to march on a public street must first obtain a parade permit from the City. Those parade permits only allow marching during daylight hours.

The rules also state that demonstrators shall not impede traffic, wear masks, hoods or devices which conceal the identity of the wearer, other than masks which are worn in accordance with state law which includes exceptions for seasonal events.

Leaders also say that demonstrators will not be allowed to enter police headquarters or any nearby areas adjourning the Durham Police Department.

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