When protesters, angry over the deadly incidents in Virginia this weekend, are determined to take down a virtually century-old statue of a Confederate soldier in North Carolina on Monday, law enforcement stood back and watched.
At no time did officers with the Durham Police Department or deputies with the Durham County Sheriffs Office intervene as activists brought a ladder up to the statue and used a rope to pull it down, according to multiple media reports.
No one was arrested Monday, however, a day subsequently, Durham County Sheriff Mike Andrews announced investigators were working to identify the protesters and is my intention to bring criminal charges against them.
We decided that restraint and public safety “wouldve been” our priority, Andrews said in a statement posted on his agency’s website. As the Sheriff, I am not blind to the offensive conduct of some demonstrators nor will I discount their criminal conduct.
He continued: My deputies presented great restraint and respect for the constitutional rights of the group carrying their indignation and abhorrence for recent events in our country. Racism and incivility had not yet been place in our country or Durham.
Calls trying additional comment were not immediately returned Tuesday.
The Confederate Soldiers Monument in Durham was dedicated in 1924 and proves a soldier comprising a rifle. After it came down, a diverse crowd of dozens cheered, and some even began kicking the crumpled bronze monument.
Some took illustrations standing or sitting on the toppled soldier, in front of a pedestal inscribed with the words: “In Memory of the Boys Who Wore The Gray.
The Durham demonstration followed a white nationalist rallying held during Charlottesville, Virginia, during the course of its weekend. One girl was killed Saturday after a human, who police believe was one of the white patriots, drove his automobile into a group of peaceful counter-protesters.
Although the violence in Virginia has inspired fresh talk by government officials about bringing down emblems of the Confederacy around the South, North Carolina has a law to defend the statues. The 2015 statute avoids 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 is a better style to remove these monuments.”
After the statue fell, several dozen objectors congregated on the street in front of the old courthouse as police cruiser blocked off the street, and officers appeared on some filming the events.