There are now four protesters arrested for the destruction of a roughly century-old statue of a Confederate soldier in North Carolina. The bold act of property destruction was carried out in front of news cameras in broad daylight. As a history nut, it is painful to see old works of art destroyed in this fashion. The arrested include Takiyah Thompson, 22, Dante Strobino, 35, Ngoc Loan Tran, 24, and Peter Gilbert, 39.
These individuals were clearly unwilling to join the debate over the removal of confederacy images or figures. Instead, they destroyed not just a piece of history but a piece of art that, if the community decided in favor of removal, could have been placed in a museum or alternative setting.
Thompson climbed the ladder to help pull down the statue, which was dedicated in 1924. She is a student at black North Carolina Central University. The three men are affiliated with the Workers World Party, which helped organize the Durham protest in response to the protests in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Notably, police spotted Tran at the court hearing for Thompson when a deputy asked him to help identify two people . Tran refused and he was arrested.
Tran later tried to excuse his destruction of the statue as warranted due to the racist society in which he lives: “Monday night hundreds of people gathered in front of the statue, and it was the will of everyone there that that statue come down knowing that in the state of North Carolina there is no legal route for removing Confederate statues.” Of course, there is a legal route through the legislature. What Tran and his colleagues were not willing to do is to leave it to the legislative process and the collective judgment of the citizenry. Instead, they simply imposed their will on the majority and destroyed a historical art piece.
They are charged with Disorderly conduct by injury to a statue (Class II misdemeanor), Damage to real property (statue as a fixture (Class I misdemeanor), 14-288.2(c) Participation in a riot with property damage in excess of $1,500 (Class H felony), and 14-288.2(e) inciting others to riot where there is property damage in excess of $1,500 (Class F felony).