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Conviction stands for man who punched Silent Sam demonstrator

The conviction of a Burlington man for punching a demonstrator opposing the “Silent Sam” Confederate monument last year will stand.

Barry Lee Brown of Burlington, a member of neo-Confederate group Alamance County Taking Back Alamance County (ACTBAC), was convicted of simple affray after punching one of a number of demonstrators preventing his group from placing flowers at the base of the toppled monument at UNC-Chapel Hill last August.

Brown had appealed the conviction but withdrew his appeal this week.

This week Brown also pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault on a female in a separate case. He was sentenced to a year of unsupervised probation. In May he was charged with misdemeanor violation of a no-contact order, felony breaking and entering to terrorize and simple assault.

Brown, whose group has frequently clashed with anti-racist protesters around the issue of Confederate statues, has a long history of criminal convictions.

In 2008 he was convicted on charges of misdemeanor assault with a deadly weapon, communicating threats and second degree trespassing.  He was convicted of felony possession of cocaine in 2005 and had two misdemeanor convictions in 2000 for wanton injury to real property.

Though Brown set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for his defense on the Silent Sam-related punching, he raised just $340 of his $5,000 goal.

Brown is not the only member of ACTBAC to be charged with offenses related to the Silent Sam controversy.

In March the group’s founder, Gary Williamson, was charged with one count of resisting, delaying or obstructing arrest and was issued a trespass warning from McCorkle Place, the former site of the Silent Sam monument. Williamson’s charges stemmed from his attempt to stop the removal of the statue’s base, which was ordered removed from its site by former UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Carol Folt before her resignation.

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