The Locker Room


Posted by Jon Ham at 11:20 AM

The New Black Panther Party held their press conference just inside Duke's West Campus entrance (see above photo) a while ago, but the only drama came a few minutes earlier.

When they arrived the para-military group's "soldiers" set up a "perimenter" (see photo below) to keep the media away from local community leaders and the NBPP officials as they planned their strategy in a parking lot across from the main entrance to campus.

The media didn't question why the NBPP, which has no police powers, were able to keep them from getting closer. They complied without question except for one. Freelance photographer Julian Harrison walked into the "restricted" area and began videotaping the "soldiers" from behind. The "soldiers" told him he'd have to leave (see photo below) and he refused. The NBPP then enlisted the aid of Durham Police Department officers, who did their bidding and escorted Harrison away from the Panthers.

"They said I was creating a disturbance," Harrison said afterward. "It wasn't me creating the disturbance. I was just trying to do my job."

A funny note: Item number 4 on the list of demands originally called for immediate prosecution and conviction of "the victims," according to one person who was present last night for the drafting of the points. Apparently a copy editor caught that little mistake before the press conference today.

As with most protests these days, the media, Duke employees and interested onlookers outnumbered actual protestors.

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