With a tow strap, protesters pull Confederate statue to the ground

Video: A ladder and tow strap were used to swiftly pull a Confederate statue to the ground during an ‘Emergency Durham Protest’ at the old Durham County Courthouse in response to the violent protests Saturday in Charlottesville, on Monday, Aug. 14
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Video: A ladder and tow strap were used to swiftly pull a Confederate statue to the ground during an ‘Emergency Durham Protest’ at the old Durham County Courthouse in response to the violent protests Saturday in Charlottesville, on Monday, Aug. 14
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Durham County

Durham County sheriff to seek criminal charges against protesters who toppled Confederate statue

By Virginia Bridges

vbridges@heraldsun.com

August 15, 2017 08:48 AM

Durham

Durham County Sheriff Mike Andrews said he will seek criminal charges against protesters who pulled down a Confederate statue in front of the old Durham County courthouse Monday night.

“County leaders were aware of the risk of damage to the Confederate statute, as well as, the potential risk of injury to the public and officers should deputies attempt to control the crowd. Collectively, we decided that restraint and public safety would be our priority,” Andrews wrote. “As the Sheriff, I am not blind to the offensive conduct of some demonstrators nor will I ignore their criminal conduct. With the help of video captured at the scene, my investigators are working to identify those responsible for the removal and vandalism of the statue.”

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Protesters celebrate after pulling down a Confederate statue in Durham, N.C. Monday afternoon Aug. 14, 2017.

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As protesters put up a ladder on the statue, sheriff officials videotaped the event, but it didn’t intervene. Protesters then put a yellow bungie-like rope around the statute and pulled it down.

“I am grateful the events that unfolded Monday evening did not result in serious injury or the loss of life, but the planned demonstration should serve as a sobering example of the price we all pay when civil disobedience is no longer civil,” the sheriff’s statement said. “Before the protest, my staff met with our community partners to discuss how to safely and appropriately respond to the protest.”

Andrews is asking city and county leaders for guidelines and safe protest spaces to prevent demonstrations from becoming disruptive and dangerous, he said.

Virginia Bridges: 919-829-8924, @virginiabridges

Statement from Durham County Sheriff Mike Andrews

I am grateful the events that unfolded Monday evening did not result in serious injury or the loss of life, but the planned demonstration should serve as a sobering example of the price we all pay when civil disobedience is no longer civil. Before the protest, my staff met with our community partners to discuss how to safely and appropriately respond to the protest. County leaders were aware of the risk of damage to the Confederate statue, as well as, the potential risk of injury to the public and officers should deputies attempt to control the crowd. Collectively, we decided that restraint and public safety would be our priority. As the Sheriff, I am not blind to the offensive conduct of some demonstrators nor will I ignore their criminal conduct. With the help of video captured at the scene, my investigators are working to identify those responsible for the removal and vandalism of the statue.

My deputies showed great restraint and respect for the constitutional rights of the group expressing their anger and disgust for recent events in our country. Racism and incivility have no place in our country or Durham. I am asking both city and county leaders to establish guidelines and safe spaces for protesters to prevent demonstrations from becoming disruptive and as we witnessed in Charlottesville, dangerous. Rightfully, Durham County and the City of Durham have a longstanding respect for the right of peaceable assembly. Recently, the Sheriff’s Office’s decision to arrest demonstrators at a public meeting was challenged in the court of law. My Agency has been the focus of demonstrations for more than a year, most of them peaceful. However, now may be the time for Durham to consider what is the best way to respond to continued protests while respecting every resident’s right to voice their opinion.