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When protesters show, cops lock the doors


You won't find Rosalynn Place on most maps. The new out-of-the-box Habitat for Humanity neighborhood exists in a nether world off of an unpaved section of Rose Street in Southeast Raleigh, a tidy assemblage of modest, reasonably sized houses for working families trying out a small, sensibly scaled version of the American Dream.

Rosalynn Place's invisibility extends to government, plagued by literally scores of property crimes--up to the perps walking boldly through inhabited houses in broad daylight, in one case, driving a family out of their new house, according to Musa Jabbi, a taxi driver.

"There is not one house that hasn't been victimized," Jabbi said at a rally Saturday at the corner of Rose and Jimmy Carter Way to protest laggardly and/or nonexistent police response.

The neighbors and organizers from ACORN, the venerable community organizing group, waited for a police representative they'd requested--on the way, they were told. After an hour, the only person who had shown up was a TV camera guy.

Finally, there was nothing to do but to decamp to the Raleigh Police Department precinct at a tidy strip mall at Rock Quarry Road and I-40.

"Who are we?" the gaggle of two dozen happy kids, Kenyans, Somalis, Vietnamese, old school Raleigh types, ACORN representatives as well as a couple of nice Catholic ladies from Madonna House hollered as they crossed the parking lot on Rock Quarry.

"ACORN!" went the response.

"What do we want?"


"When do we want it?

"NOW!"--all the way to the precinct, led by the TV guy.

Inside it was like the Flying Dutchman, plaid sport coats hung on cubicles, cups of coffee cooling on the desks--doors locked.

"Who are we?" the cry continued.

"They're here," the TV guy kept reassuring." "I'm telling you. They'll come out."

After 15 or so minutes, the lock clicked.

"YAAAAAAAY," yelled the kids.

L.E. Shearer stepped through the door.

"The supervisor will be here real soon," he said, face tight.

"YAAAAAAY," yelled the kids.

Finally, the duty officer drove up, pow-wowed with Shearer, and came out and told the group that police were doing everything they could, but were very busy and the residents needed to help address the problems themselves by forming a community watch.

There was a sense of disappointment when the crowd left, a feeling that their business wasn't finished. Police agreed to meet again with residents and ACORN organizers on Sunday.

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