After she admitted in an interview with WVTD-TV that she helped tear down a Confederate statue Monday evening in Durham, North Carolina, law enforcement officials have taken activist Takiyah Thompson into custody.
In a video, the 22-year-old was seen climbing a ladder and fastening a rope around the statue’s neck. Protesters subsequently pulled the statue down before spitting on it and giving it the middle finger.
“I feel like it’s important to tear down these vestiges of white supremacy,” she said in her interview.
Thompson was hit with two felonies, one for inciting others to riot and another for participation in a riot in which there was property damage in excess of $1,500, as well as with two misdemeanors, one damage to real property and one disorderly conduct by injury to a statue.
She received a $10,000 unsecured bond and was bonded out by 6 p.m. Monday night. The communist-affiliated World Worker’s Party, Durham chapter — of which Thompson is a member — set up a legal defense fund to help fight her case in court.
Two others involved in pulling down the statue were arrested Wednesday, and the pair showed contempt toward North Carolina law enforcement officials, chanting, “No Trump, no KKK, no fascist USA,” as they were led away in handcuffs.
Durham County Sheriff Mike Andrews said Tuesday that he would be diligent in bringing everyone who helped tear down the statue to justice.
“No one is getting away with damaging the Confederate statue,” he said, WTVD reported. “We will pursue felony charges.”
Before her arrest, Thompson told WTVD: “The people decided to take matters into our own hands and remove the statue. We are tired of waiting on politicians who could have voted to remove the white supremacist statues years ago, but they failed to act. So, we acted.”
The angry mob perpetrated the disgraceful crime in protest of the violence at a rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend. They blamed the discord on a white nationalists group, which had permission to hold the rally, although many reports have indicated that counter-protesters, including Antifa and Black Lives Matter activists, created the conflict.
After the Durham activists pulled the nearly century-old statue of a Confederate soldier down, they reportedly kicked and spat on it. Then, they carried it from its origin at the old Durham County Courthouse to a police station.
Reportedly, police officers were present during the destruction, although no one from either the Durham Police Department or the Durham County Sheriff’s Office intervened. Apparently, they watched the activists set up a ladder, attach the rope and topple the statue.
As police cruisers blocked off the street, the brazen protesters then gathered in front of the courthouse. Officers watched as the criminals congregated; some members of the department even filmed the events.
According to the Durham Police Department, they were present to make sure everyone remained safe while they criminalized government property. They admitted that they knew something might happen to the statue during the “planned demonstration.”
Their statement, written by Sheriff Mike Andrews, asks the city council to set “rules” for protesters. He says he’s grateful that the events did not result in injury or death, “but the planned demonstration should serve as a sobering example of the price we all pay when civil disobedience is no longer civil.”
Andrews notes that ahead of the protest, he and his staff met with “community partners” to decide the safe and appropriate response to the protest. According to Andrews:
“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 says his deputies showed “great restraint and respect for the constitutional rights of the group expressing their anger and disgust” for what he called “recent events in our country.”
Andrews then called on city leaders to provide “safe spaces” for protesters.
“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.
In response to the statue being torn down, Democratic North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper tweeted: “The racism and deadly violence in Charlottesville is unacceptable but there is a better way to remove these monuments.”
— Gloria Rodriguez (@GloriaABC11) August 16, 2017
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