Judge condemns Silent Sam, doesn’t punish man who punched protester

In a bizarre turn of events earlier this week, an Orange County district court judge condemned the “Silent Sam” Confederate statue and UNC-Chapel Hill for displaying it…but declined to punish a man for punching one of the people protesting the statue.

From the Herald-Sun in Durham:

Orange County District Court Judge Beverly Scarlett said she would not punish Barry Brown for simple assault because the “university is the proximate cause of this conflict.”

The Confederate statue “inflames emotions and leads to agitation,” the judge added. There is no way that university officials don’t know it causes pain and impairs student safety, she said.

“I ask the leadership of the university if your goal is to teach a diverse community of students, what are you doing to assure that all students feel emotionally and physically safe,” Scarlett said.

“Another interesting question: What is the difference in the Silent Sam statue and a statue of Adolf Hitler?” she asked. “Is human suffering not a common denominator?”

“Moreover, where are the statues of the numerous people of color who worked to construct the buildings at the university? Where is the statue of Thomas Day who built the cabinetry for the university’s first library? To the university, isn’t there a more enlightened way to celebrate the contributions of all?”

Seven people, including Brown, were charged at the Aug. 25 protest, less than a week after protesters pulled Silent Sam down from its pedestal on the university’s McCorkle Place.

Brown, 40, of Liberty, is a member of the pro-Confederate group Alamance County Taking Back Alamance County.

When asked about by the reporter if he had spoken to the man he assaulted since the incident, Brown – who bragged about the punch online – reportedly asked: ““What would I say to him? Would you like another one?”

Check Also

President of Association of American Universities on her “dismay” with UNC Board of Governors

Dr. Mary Sue Coleman is president of the ...

Top Stories from NCPW

  • News
  • Commentary

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson on Tuesday released a lengthy list of educat [...]

President Trump’s national emergency declaration, long teased, is in effect. Let the lawsuits begin. [...]

The EPA today announced it has issued a Notice of Violation to Chemours for failing to comply, on mu [...]

If you told Cheri Beasley when she was a little girl that she would grow up to become North Carolina [...]

There was much talk this week and last about state Superintendent Mark Johnson’s Tuesday night limel [...]

Many of us may remember the often very implausible notions we had of “where babies come from” when w [...]

Just about anything can happen in American politics. Those who doubt this oft-demonstrated truism ne [...]

Editor's note: Kim Mackey is a social studies teacher with Wake County Public Schools. She rece [...]