Durham County Sheriff: Demonstration ‘was sobering example of the price we all pay when civil disobedience is no longer civil’
By Virginia Bridges
August 15, 2017 8:48 AM
Durham County Sheriff Mike Andrews said he will not ignore criminal conduct of the protesters who pulled down a Confederate statute 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.”
By Virginia Bridges
August 14, 2017 7:32 PM
A protest in downtown Durham on Monday night left a statue of a Confederate soldier erected nearly a century ago crumpled on the ground.
Sheriff’s deputies recorded the event but did not intervene as a protester climbed a ladder and slipped a yellow, bungie-like cord around the soldier’s head and arm and a group pulled the cord.
After the Durham statue was pulled down, protesters walked down East Main Street and blocked the intersection at South Roxboro Street, some holding hands in the middle of the broad intersection.
After about five minutes, the group left the intersection and continued to walk down Main Street on the sidewalk. They stopped at the construction site of the new Durham Police Department headquarters.
Police blocked traffic and accompanied the group as members walked down the streets. No arrests were made, the department said Monday night. Durham County Sheriff’s Office has jurisdiction over all county buildings and landmarks, it said.
The line of protesters walked back to the old courthouse. Some took photographs with the fallen statue. Sheriff’s officials continued to take video.
Isaiah Wallace, 26, of Durham, accompanied the protesters carrying and playing a guitar.
Watching the statue fall “was awesome,” he said.
“It’s going to send shock waves through the country, all the rest of the racist monuments and symbols can get town down also,” he said.