Durham city workers ‘traumatized’ after they were robbed at gunpoint

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — Police say three men robbed three Durham City workers at gunpoint this week, while the city employees were on the job.

The incident happened at the intersection of Nation Avenue and Bedford Street.

Durham Police say the city workers were working on a sewer pipeline when three men wearing all black walked past them. The suspects walked around the city work truck and pointed a pistol at the workers demanding money.


A police report says the crooks got away with money, credit cards, and a wallet with the total amount taken equal to about $240.

No one was injured during the incident.

The Durham City Workers Union Chapter of UE local 150 says they “condemn” the response by the city in “the strongest words.”

“We are traumatized, and the city has done little to nothing to help us,” stated Ben Lang, Crew Leader, one of the workers robbed.

The statement says the victims were “encouraged” to continue their job shortly after being held-up at gunpoint. The crew remained on-site until about midnight to finish the job.

“This incident shows that management in the water management department only cares about getting the job done, even if that means risking the life and mental health of their workers,” stated Nathanette Mayo, President of UE150.

The City of Durham told CBS North Carolina in a statement:

The safety of city employees is always our top priority. We are deeply concerned about this incident and the impact it had on the employees involved, as well as their co-workers who might have been affected by the incident. While the city is grateful that no one was physically harmed, we readily recognize the emotional impact that this incident has caused.

Right now, our primary concern is to provide the resources to support the employees who were involved. We are working with them individually to meet their needs as they process and recover from this terrible and scary incident, including offering counseling and flexibility about return to work. We are continuing to work with the Police Department to review and determine additional response needs when incidents like this occur to better prepare staff for the unexpected, as well as teach personal safety skills to our employees who work in the field.

Despite those efforts, we also recognize an unusual and unsettling event like this gives us an opportunity to reassess and improve our support of our staff, and we are committed to listening to these staff and their coworkers about their needs after an event such as this.

The Durham City Workers Union is demanding the City do the following:

  • Develop a comprehensive policy, with input from affected workers, about handling of robberies and other violent attacks while working. The policy should include a requirement that several supervisors and managers show up at the scene of an incident immediately after it’s reported, and employees should be sent home immediately with full pay.
  • Supervisors and managers in the chain of command should be reprimanded, up to and including dismissal for their callous actions after February 19 attack.
  • All 3 employees should be granted additional paid mental health leave to recover from the traumatic event.
  • All 3 employees should be compensated for any monetary losses they incurred.
  • Mental health counselors and experts should be brought in to speak to all workers in the department to debrief the situation to avoid further traumatic impact and worry.
  • Establish more secure ways to limit pedestrian access to worksite where repairs are being made and require police to circulate in areas where city crews are working after sunset, and make stop by site once every 15 minutes to ensure safety of the city workers.


...[READ MORE]   Source: WNCN Durham County News