Sheriff to seek charges against North Carolina protesters who pulled down Confederate statue

Tuesday, August 15, 2017
Protesters rip down Confederate statue in Durham
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Durham protesters ripped down a Confederate statue Monday evening.

DURHAM, North Carolina -- Officials in North Carolina said they will seek charges against protesters who pulled down a Confederate statue outside the old courthouse in Durham Monday evening.

In a statement, Durham County Sheriff Mike Andrews said he was grateful that no one was hurt and that county leaders decided to act with restraint towards the demonstrators.

"Collectively, we decided that restraint and public safety would be our priority. As the Sheriff, I am not blind to the offensive conduct of some demonstrators nor will I ignore their criminal conduct. With the help of video captured at the scene, my investigators are working to identify those responsible for the removal and vandalism of the statue," he said.

The monument of a Confederate soldier holding a rifle was erected in 1924 in honor of "the boys who wore the gray."

Raw video as protesters pull down the statue in Durham.

The crowd was small in numbers but steadily grew to more than 100.

As the crowd became more animated, several protesters approached the monument, climbing it and attaching a yellow nylon rope around it. The protesters then pulled until the soldier came crashing to the ground.

Seconds after the monument fell, protesters began kicking the crumpled bronze monument.

"I was a little bit shocked people could come here and come together like that," said Isaiah Wallace.

The Durham protest was in response to a white nationalist rally held in Charlottesville, Virginia, during the weekend.

Shortly after 9:30 p.m., the Durham Police Department issued a response to the protests.

"The DPD is aware that a Confederate monument was toppled at the old Durham County courthouse. Because this incident occurred on county property, where county law enforcement officials were staffed, no arrests were made by DPD officers," the department said in a statement.

Police said the Durham County Sheriff's Office is the agency that has jurisdiction over all county buildings and landmarks.

"When monitoring such incidents, the Sheriff's Office is the decision-making agency regarding law enforcement response on matters concerning county property," DPD explained.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.