Texts show police told ‘not working’ with ‘Silent Sam’ protesters: report



Southern campus statue thrown down by student protesters

University of North Carolina students tear down the Silent Sam statue on the first day of class.

A chief of police to assist in maintaining public order during a protest at the University in North Carolina last week told his officers to stand aside as protesters tore down the century-old Confederate monument known as “Silent Sam,” a report stated.

WRAL-TV obtained text messages and e-mails that showed Chapel Hill police chief Chris Blue closely monitored the Aug. 20 to protest when his officers to back up the UNC police, who took the lead in the supervision on the Chapel Hill campus. The station used a public records request to obtain about 400 pages, e-mails and texts in and out of the Blue on the day of the protest and the day after.

The messages turned Blue instruct the officers to the protesters “lots of space” and “stay away.” Another message showed Blue tell Chapel Hill officers, they were “too close” to the protesters. Not too long after, the demonstrators attacked the “Silent Sam” statue.


Blue got several messages after the protest, criticism on how his officers handled the incident. Still, Blue by e-mail officers a day later and thanked them for their “good work in a difficult time.”

The actions of UNC’s campus, the police are also under the supervision of the university and the legislative leaders. The UNC police have the primary responsibility for patrolling the campus, but the two departments help each other.

The police guard after “Silent Sam” was overthrown by protesters on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, N. C.


Thom Goolsby, a UNC Board of Governors member, said officers were “very derelict in their duty by standing back and allowing this outside criminal element to riot and destroy the property of the state,” the Herald Sun reported.


Protests about the statue have flared in the past year, with many decrying the monument as a symbol of a racist heritage. The protest on Aug. 20 began with a series of speakers, the crowd moved to the quadrangle. Then, about two hours into the protest, a group around the statue and pulled it down. Once on the ground, protesters kicked and shouted.

Raul Jimenez, who was accused of helping in the pull down of the image, said on Thursday that the community brought it off with “a fair show of people power” after the university leaders dropped their means is lawful to remove. He made the statement during a brief appearance in court on misdemeanor charges of rioting and violating a public monument.

No injuries were reported during the protest. Three people are facing misdemeanor charges of rioting and violating a public monument.

Fox News’ Lucia I. Suarez Sang, and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

Kathleen Joyce is a breaking/trending news producer for You can follow her via @Kathleen_Joyce8 on Twitter.

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