22-Year-Old Woman Charged in Toppling of Confederate Statue in North Carolina

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A woman has been arrested in connection with the toppling of a Confederate statue during a protest in Durham, North Carolina, authorities said Tuesday.

Durham County Sheriff Mike Andrews said officers are executing search warrants and expect to make an additional arrest in the case.

Protesters pull down a Confederate statue in Durham, North Carolina, on Aug. 13, 2017. (Credit: Sandra Korn via CNN)

“As the sheriff, I am not blind to the offensive conduct of some demonstrators nor will I ignore their criminal conduct,” Andrews said in a news release. “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.”

The sheriff’s office said the 22-year-old woman was charged with two felonies, participation in a riot with property damage in excess of $1,500 and inciting others to riot, and two misdemeanors, disorderly conduct by injury to a statue and damage to property.

The statue was pulled down during a protest in Durham to show solidarity with anti-racist activists in Charlottesville, Virginia.

From New York to Indiana to California, numerous demonstrations have been organized since Saturday, when Heather Heyer was killed in Charlottesville while counterprotesting a white nationalist rally. Many demonstrators connected with each other through public Facebook events.

As the group gathered at the old Durham County courthouse around the Confederate Soldiers Monument, one person climbed a ladder and tied a rope to the top of the statue as the crowd chanted, “We are the revolution.”

Protesters pulled the rope and erupted in cheers as the statue fell onto the ground. Several people ran up to the mangled statue, kicking it and spitting on it.

The statue, dedicated in 1924, depicts a soldier holding a gun on top of a concrete pillar. The pillar is engraved, “In memory of the boys who wore gray.”

Andrews said county leaders discussed safety measures for the protest and the potential risk of injury to protesters or police. “Collectively, we decided that restraint and public safety would be our priority,” Andrews said.

Durham police said no arrests were made because the incident occurred on county property. CNN has reached out to county officials for a statement.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper issued a statement Tuesday calling for the removal of more Confederate monuments.

“I don’t pretend to know what it’s like for a person of color to pass by one of these monuments and consider that those memorialized in stone and metal did not value my freedom or humanity,” he said. “Unlike an African-American father, I’ll never have to explain to my daughters why there exists an exalted monument for those who wished to keep her and her ancestors in chains.”

Cooper said the legislature should repeal a 2015 law that prevents the removal or relocation of monuments so local governments and the state will have the authority to decide.

A state agency has been asked to determine the costs of removing Confederate monuments from state property and find alternative spots for their placement, Cooper said.

Cooper said he will also urge the legislature to defeat a bill that grants immunity from liability to motorists who strike protesters.

‘Old Joe’ removed

On Monday in Gainesville, Florida, construction workers, approved by the county, removed a Confederate statue called “Old Joe.” The statue sat outside the Alachua County Administration Building for over 100 years.

The statue, unveiled in 1909, depicts a soldier known as “Old Joe” standing with his gun in his hands.

For the past two years, Alachua County has been in the process of removing “Old Joe” and figuring out a place to relocate it.

“Back in May 2017, Alachua County Board of Commissioners made the decision, to remove the statue stating that they didn’t think the current location in front of the Alachua County Administrative building wasn’t an appropriate place for the statue since it’s a busy public area,” Mark Sexton, a county spokesperson, told CNN.

Finding an organization to take the monument held up the process of removal. Two organizations turned down the board’s offer of receiving “Old Joe” before the United Daughters of the Confederacy agreed to relocate it.