Police in Chapel Hill, N.C., are facing criticism for an aggressive response Sunday when “anti-capitalist” demonstrators too over a vacant car dealership downtown, reports the Raleigh News & Observer. A police tactical team rushed the building, armed with semi-automatic weapons, handcuffed about 13 people and arrested seven after a group of about 70 had entered the building Saturday night. The paper said the city’s police policy manual suggests that warnings should have been issued before the arrests.
The town is conducting an internal investigation of the raid. The police chief said Monday that officers who approached the occupiers inside the former Yates Motor Co. were met with “threatening” movements and that the group was distributing violent literature and planned to hold the building “in perpetuity.” Police waited until Sunday, when the crowd diminished, to take control of the building and push out its occupiers, he said. Some Chapel Hill residents and others have questioned the police response, including the handcuffing of two journalists.