If you’ve been following our continuing coverage of the controversy surrounding Confederate statues in the state, you’ll be interested to read that the cases of eight protesters accused of toppling a statue in Durham this summer have been continued.
“Cases for eight people accused of toppling a Confederate monument in Durham this summer were continued Tuesday morning, and a ninth defendant will see their charges dropped after paying restitution and completing community service hours.
Loan Tran received a deferred prosecution agreement, according to attorney Scott Holmes. Tran has until March 26 to pay $1,250 in restitution and do one hundred hours of community service with the Triangle Nonprofit and Volunteer Leadership Center. Once completed, three misdemeanor charges against Tran—damage to personal property, damage to real property, and defacing a public monument—will be dismissed. Tran had initially been charged with inciting a riot and participating in a riot, both felonies, but Holmes said those charges are off the table.
Judge James Hill continued the case of eight other people charged in connection with the August 14 dismantling of a Confederate monument in front of the county administration building to January 11. Three people facing charges stemming from an anti-KKK demonstration on August 18 had their cases continued to February 8.”
You may remember that a large number of those in the community who opposed the statue rallied around the protesters, even offering to turn themselves in as a show of solidarity.
The case led Durham District Attorney Roger Echols to address the thorny issue of the statues in a press conference on the case:
“As District Attorney for Durham, it is my job to seek a just resolution in this matter. A just resolution will include an analysis of the property damage. A just resolution must also include balancing accountability for the actual destruction of property and violation of the law with the climate in which these actions were undertaken. Justice requires that I must take into account the pain of the recent events in Charlottesville and the pain in Durham and the nation. Justice requires that I consider that Durham citizens have no proper recourse for asking our local government to relocate or remove this monument. Justice also requires that I be aware that asking people to be patient and to let various government institutions address injustice is sometimes asking more than those who have been historically ignored, marginalized or harmed by a system can bare.”
UNC’s student newspaper, The Daily Tarheel, caught up with one of those charged – Takiyah Thompson, a student at N.C. Central University. Thompson wrapped a yellow cord around the statue before it came down.
“Following the hearing, Thompson promised to take her charges to trial and prove her innocence in 2018.
She offered advice to other people facing similar challenges.
‘I would say to people to be their own masters and to decide their own fate and not leave it to officials who sit in air-conditioned rooms and never have to deal with the consequences of white supremacy,’ Thompson said.”