RALEIGH, N. C. – the Police declaration Friday against three people accused of aiding in the elimination of a century-old Southern image during a protest this week in North Carolina’s flagship university.
The University of North Carolina campus, the police filed warrants for three misdemeanor charges of rioting and violating a public monument, according to a press release. The release said that the three are not affiliated with the university.
The suspects had not been arrested on Friday afternoon, said spokesman Randy Young, who refused the immediate release of their names.
The ministry said that there would be more arrests. Another protester was charged earlier in the week with felony counts of resisting officers and the wearing of a mask shortly before the statue came down.
A few hundred protesters on the UNC campus in Chapel Hill and used ropes Monday night to bring down the statue known as “Silent Sam.” The organized protesters made use of a non-confrontational response of the police to topple the statue that was there since 1913 in one of the main quad.
Protesters began the rally across the street, before marching about and around the statue. To outwit his officers, the protesters raised banners to hide efforts to tie a rope to the image. They then split into two groups. Most of them moved away as a small group remained behind. The banners were up for about an hour before the groups came together and pulled the statue down, to the videos.
The police response on Monday was much different from the response to a similar protest a year ago. In 2017, officers in riot gear faced criticism for heavy-handed tactics after the use of metal barricades to keep activists away from the statue. The portable barriers are not used Monday, and the officers do not keep protesters away from the statue.
University and legislative leaders have condemned the protesters’ actions as ” mob rule,” ask for a hard look at the reaction of the police and a full criminal investigation. The State Bureau of Investigation has been brought in to help.
Republican Rep. Bob Steinburg said in an interview Friday that he felt the misdemeanor charges filed so far were insufficient.
“That is a relative slap on the hand of what they have done,” he said.
Steinburg said he is worried that the weak prosecution of vandals will encourage further attacks on other Confederate monuments in the whole country. He called the law enforcement responses to ‘ Silent Sam and another image upside down in Durham “milquetoast.”
Last year in Durham, protesters tore down a Confederate statue in front of the local government building. The police took the video but don’t try to stop them if one climbed a ladder and attached the rope that was then snatched by protesters on the ground.
A judge in Durham later dismissed against two and found a third not guilty because of difficulty with the identify of protesters on video. The prosecutor then dropped against the other five, that he is not a stronger evidence against the rest.
At Chapel Hill, university leaders have noted that the protest Monday was a very well organized and “in contrast to a” they had seen. On Thursday, Chancellor Carol Folt told reporters, university officials had expected a smaller demonstration and were surprised.
The statue is in temporary storage, and the future is unclear.
Before it was taken down, had it under constant, costly police surveillance after being destroyed in the past few months. Many students, teachers and alumni argued that “Silent Sam” symbolized racism and asked officials to remove it.
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