After the chaos and violence of the “Unite the Right” rally this past weekend, a wave of opposition to the Alt-Right has swelled across the country. And First up on their agendas seems to be the castration of the last vestiges of public Confederate memorials. Yet authorities are cracking down on those that go above the law.
Takiyah Thompson, 22, was the first to be arrested in the destruction of a statue in Durham, North Carolina.
Democrat governor Roy Cooper said Tuesday that he wants the Confederate monuments around the state to come down, but there are legal ways to do it. It is not the responsibility of angry mobs.
“We cannot continue to glorify a war against the United States of America fought in the defense of slavery,” Cooper said in a statement. “These monuments should come down.”
Durham County sheriff’s deputies took Thompson into custody on Tuesday right after protesters held a news conference at North Carolina Central University. Thompson spoke there, and identified herself as the person seen on video climbing a ladder to tie a strap around the monument.
Thompson feels her actions were justified because these Confederate memorials represent white supremacy.
She has been charged with disorderly conduct by injury to a statue, damage to real property, participation in a riot with property damage in excess of $1,500 and inciting others to riot where there is property damage in excess of $1,500.
As she was being taken away, protesters chanted and demanded the charges be dropped. “The people decided to take matters into our own hands and remove the statue,” Thompson said at the news conference.
“We are tired of waiting on politicians who could have voted to remove the white supremacist statues years ago, but they failed to act. So we acted.”
Unfortunately for Thompson, that’s not exactly legal. Sheriff Mike Andrews is intent on prosecuting the mob in an attempt to demonstrate that there are consequences for this sort of vigilante justice. “No one is getting away with this,” Andrews said. “We can all agree yesterday went too far.”
The Confederate Soldiers Monument that was destroyed was first dedicated in 1924. It stood in front of the old courthouse in Durham, a building that now houses government offices.
The Southern Poverty Law Center has records of 120 Civil War monuments in North Carolina. More than 50 of them are located at courthouses.
President Donald Trump has jumped into the debate and seems to be on the side of those who want the statues left alone. “This week it’s Robert E. Lee. I notice that Stonewall Jackson’s coming down,” Trump said in a frenetic press conference he gave Tuesday in New York. “I wonder, is it George Washington next week, and is it Thomas Jefferson the week after? You know you really do have to ask yourself, where does it stop?”