The woman behind the protest that brought down a confederate statue at the Durham County (North Carolina) Courthouse on Monday has been arrested, and the sheriff who made the arrest vows more arrests are coming. “Let me be clear, no one is getting away with what happened,” Durham County Sheriff Mike Andrews said.
Takiyah Thompson, a student at North Carolina Central University, seemed surprised after she was arrested following a press conference in which she admitted her role in the protest. Thompson claims to be a member of Workers World Party and said she took down the statue because she was afraid of it.
“It’s white supremacy, plain and simple,” Thompson said. “And it had to go.” She said she could no longer live in fear knowing a statue erected in 1924 stood at the courthouse.
Thompson can be seen in a video tying a rope around the confederate statue’s neck, which others used to pull it to the ground and stomp on it. The Confederate Soldiers Monument was dedicated in 1924 on the courthouse grounds.
There was a report that Thompson started a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for her legal defense, but no such campaign was found on the website. It is unclear if it was removed or if it never existed.
Sheriff’s deputies were at the protest, but did not intervene, fearing a riot. They did record the events to use as evidence against the vandals later.
Thompson was charged with participation in a riot with property damage in excess of $1,500 (Class H Felony) and inciting others to riot where there is property damage in excess of $1,500 (Class F Felony), the Sheriff’s Office said.
She also was charged with disorderly conduct by injury to a statue and damage to real property, both misdemeanors.
At the press conference, activists demanded all charges be dropped and that Gov. Roy Cooper call for immediate removal of all Confederate statues across the state.At the press conference, activists demanded all charges be dropped and that Gov. Roy Cooper call for immediate removal of all Confederate statues across the state.
The group also demanded Durham city and county leaders attend “mass public forums to allow the community to speak-out about their concerns for public display of Confederate statues.”
In a social media post Tuesday, Cooper announced he was calling upon the legislature to repeal a 2015 law that prevents removal or relocation of monuments. Cities, counties and the state must have “the authority and opportunity” to make these decisions, he said.
“My first responsibility as governor is to protect North Carolinians and keep them safe,” Cooper said. “The likelihood of protesters being injured or worse as they may try to topple any one of the hundreds of monuments in our state concerns me. And the potential for those same white supremacist elements we saw in Charlottesville to swarm the site, weapons in hand, in retaliation is a threat to public safety.”
Here is video of Thompson being arrested.
Here is video of the initial takedown of the confederate statue, showing Thompson climbing the statue and securing the line that brought it down.