Durham County sheriff’s deputies arrested a woman who said she took part in toppling the Confederate statue in downtown Durham. More arrests are expected.
* At least one protester has been arrested
* County officials call for “respectful and productive” dialogue on race issues
* Sheriff will charge protesters to “full extent of the law”
Takiyah Thompson, 22, was taken into custody shortly after protesters held a news conference Tuesday afternoon at North Carolina Central University. Thompson climbed a ladder to the top of the statue to tie a rope around its neck before the crowd tore it down
WATCH: Deputies arrest Thompson
Thompson is charged with
- disorderly conduct by injury to a statue (Class II Misdemeanor)
- damage to real property (statue as a fixture (Class I Misdemeanor)
- participation in a riot with property damage in excess of $1,500 (Class H Felony)
- inciting others to riot where there is property damage in excess of $1,500 (Class F Felony)
The protesters who took part in toppling Confederate statue in Durham on Monday held the news conference Tuesday to call for the dropping of any charges related to the incident.
“The people decided to take matters into our own hands and remove the statue,” said Thompson, a member of the far-left Workers World Party and a student at N.C. Central University. “We are tired of waiting on politicians who could have voted to remove the white supremacist statues years ago, but they failed to act. So we acted.”
The protesters called for the Durham County Commissioners, the Durham Sheriff’s office and District Attorney’s office to drop the charges on all protesters involved with the Durham incident and also called on the City of Charlottesville to drop charges against anti-racist protesters from August 12.
Durham County officials called for a “respectful and productive” dialogue on race issues Tuesday following the destruction of a Confederate monument outside the old courthouse in downtown Durham.
On Tuesday, Durham city council member Jillian Johnson responded to Durham County Sheriff Mike Andrews’ call for city and county leaders to help create guidelines for peaceful demonstrations.
“I’m unlikely to support any city or county regulations that restrict the rights of free speech and free assembly for demonstrators,” Johnson said.
At a news conference, Durham County manager Wendell Davis called pulling the statue down “unlawful and inappropriate.”
As the state has a law mandating the protection of Confederate monuments, Davis said county officials will be consulting with state officials about what to do with the heavily damaged monument.
The statue was pulled down by a group of demonstrators Monday evening. A woman climbed a ladder and put a nylon rope around it while others pulled.
Thompson, in an interview with ABC11 on Tuesday, admitted her involvement.
“I feel like it’s important to tear down these vestiges of white supremacy,” Thompson.
Woman explains why she helped pull down the statue
Congressman GK Butterfield said though he didn’t condone the actions of the protesters, but understood their motives.
“I don’t condone the destruction of government property, but I understand the hurt and pain the continued existence of Confederate monuments cause to many in our communities, whether it is on the grounds of the US Capitol, state capitals, or any other locations,” Butterfield said.
Also at Tuesday’s news conference, Andrews addressed criticism that his officers did not intervene as the statue was pulled down. He said using pepper spray was considered, but leaders decided on restraint to avoid injuries and further chaos.
“Don’t mistake restraint for inaction. If I had my deputies to engage a hostile crowd, there would have been injuries,” he said.
Sheriff Andrews speaks about statue protest