Criminal charges sought for protesters who toppled Confederate statue in North Carolina – Trending Stuff

When protesters, angry over the deadly incidents in Virginia this weekend, decided to take down a nearly century-old statue of a Confederate soldier in North Carolina on Monday, law enforcement stood back and watched.

Did officers with the Durham Police Department or deputies with the Durham County Sheriffs Office intervene as activists used a rope to pull it down and brought a ladder up, according to media reports.

No one was arrested Monday, however Durham County Sheriff Mike Andrews planned to bring criminal charges against them and declared investigators worked to identify the protesters.

We determined that restraint and public safety would be our priority, Andrews said in a statement posted on his bureau’s  site. As the Sheriff, I am not blind to some demonstrators’ offensive conduct nor will I dismiss their conduct.

He continued: My deputies showed great restraint and respect for this group’s rights expressing their anger and disgust for events in our country. Incivility and racism don’t have any place in our country or Durham.

Calls seeking additional comment weren’t immediately returned Tuesday.

The Confederate Soldiers Monument in Durham was dedicated in 1924 and reveals a soldier holding a gun. After it came down, a diverse audience of dozens cheered, and some even began kicking the monument that was crumpled.

Some took pictures standing or sitting on the toppled soldier, facing a base inscribed with the words: “In Memory of the Boys Who Wore The Gray.

The Durham demonstration followed a white nationalist rally held in Charlottesville, Virginia, during the weekend. One woman was killed Saturday after a man, who police believe was one of the white nationalists, drove his car into a group of peaceful counter-protesters.

Although the violence in Virginia has prompted fresh talk by government officials about bringing down symbols of the Confederacy around the South, North Carolina has a law protecting the statues. The 2015 law prevents removing such monuments on public property without permission from state officials.

In response to the statue in Durham being torn down, Democratic North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper tweeted: “The racism and deadly violence in Charlottesville is unacceptable but there’s a better way to remove these monuments.”

After the statue fell, several dozen protesters congregated on the street in front of the old courthouse as the street was blocked off by police cruisers, and officers appeared on some filming the events.

The Durham Police Department said in a statement Monday that officers tracked the protests that occurred throughout the city to ensure the protests were conducted in a secure manner and that no infractions occurred within city jurisdiction.

In the statement, police said because the Confederate monument was located on county land, no arrests were made by DPD officers, as the county sheriffs office has jurisdiction over all county buildings and landmarks.

Its unclear if the statue replaced and is going to be repaired. Calls to county officials weren’t immediately returned.

In his statement Tuesday, Andrews said he is asking county and city officials to establish guidelines and spaces for protesters to prevent demonstrations from becoming disruptive and as we witnessed in Charlottesville, dangerous.

My Agency has been the focus of demonstrations for more than a year, many of them calm, Andrews continued. However, now may be the time for Durham to think about what is the best way to react to protests while respecting every residents right to voice their opinion.

Laura Ingraham, founder and editor-in-chief of Lifezette, told Fox and Friends on Tuesday that protesters who tear down Confederate monuments are eradicating American history.

When you see bands of criminals, which is what they were yesterday, ripping down public land and being celebrated in the American media we’ve got a real problem on our hands, ” she said. This is not about racial healing or racial unity once you see property being destroyed. That is not what it’s about. It’s about the eradication of background and acknowledgment that we had moments in the history of our country that we were able to overcome.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Lucia I. Suarez Sang is a Reporter for

Follow her on Twitter @luciasuarezsang

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