Durham DA Drops Felony Charges Against Protesters Who Tore Down Confederate Statue

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We previously discussed the arrest of four protesters arrested for the destruction of a roughly century-old statue of a Confederate soldier in North Carolina.  The public, premeditated act was was carried out in front of news cameras in broad daylight.  Moreover, the arrested individuals seemed proud of the crime and various advocates called for all charges to be dropped against  Takiyah Thompson, 22, Dante Strobino, 35, Ngoc Loan Tran, 24, and Peter Gilbert, 39.  Indeed, faculty declared Thompson a hero for her vandalism and Political Science Professor Allan Cooper of North Carolina Central University called for Thompson to be given a scholarship.

Now, Durham District Attorney Roger Echols has dropped all felony charges against the eight protesters.

Thompson and the others will only face misdemeanor.  However, the destruction of a public art piece in a mob action has been deemed unworthy of a felony charge.  While some or all of these offenders may be first offenders, that criteria alone is not necessarily dispositive if a crime is premeditated and serious.  Moreover, the protesters organized and filmed what could be construed as a mob or riot action around this statue.  They then celebrated the act on film.

As discussed earlier, 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.

The concern is that this was a popular crime given the offense of the statue to many in the community.  However, Echols is not supposed to treat popular and unpopular crimes differently.  Otherwise, justice becomes an extension of the mob.  That is why it is called mob justice to simply commit property damage when you believe that it is warranted.

Thompson however was still irate that even a minor misdemeanor would be charged since she has the public on her side and that her actions were justified. Indeed, she indicated that the dropping of the felony charges came only after Echols felt the pressure of public opinion:  “Since these outrageous charges were filed against us, thousands upon thousands of people from across the country have called the DA and other city officials demanding the charges be dropped.”

What do you think about the dropping of the felony charges in this case? Do you agree with Thompson that all of the charges should have been dropped?

 

 

169 thoughts on “Durham DA Drops Felony Charges Against Protesters Who Tore Down Confederate Statue

  1. Meanwhile:

    “Woodward was a member of the Atomwaffen Division, an armed Fascist group with the ultimate aim of overthrowing the U.S. government through the use of terrorism and guerrilla warfare.” -from the following article

    “California Murder Suspect Said to Have Trained With Extremist Hate Group”

    “The 20-year-old man charged in Orange County with killing a gay Jewish college student earlier this month is said to have belonged to Atomwaffen Division, a neo-Nazi group.”

    https://www.propublica.org/article/california-murder-suspect-atomwaffen-division-extremist-hate-group

    “The California man accused of killing a 19-year-old University of Pennsylvania student earlier this month is an avowed neo-Nazi and a member of one of the most notorious extremist groups in the country, according to three people with knowledge of the man’s recent activities.

    “Now, three people with detailed knowledge of Woodward’s recent past have been able to shed more light on the young man’s extremist activities. They said Woodward was a member of the Atomwaffen Division, an armed Fascist group with the ultimate aim of overthrowing the U.S. government through the use of terrorism and guerrilla warfare.

    “The organization, which celebrates Hitler and Charles Manson, has been tied to four other murders and an elaborate bomb plot over the past eight months. Experts who study right-wing extremist movements believe Atomwaffen’s commitment to violence has made it one of the more dangerous groups to emerge from the new wave of white supremacists.

    “Atomwaffen started in 2015 and is estimated to have about 80 members scattered around the country in small cells; the former member said the group’s ranks have grown since the lethal and chaotic “Unite the Right” rally last summer in Charlottesville, Virginia.

    “While many of the new white extremist groups have consciously avoided using Nazi imagery, Atomwaffen has done the opposite. The name can mean “Atomic Weapons” in German, and the organization embraces Third Reich iconography, including swastikas, the Totenkopf, or death’s head insignia, and SS lightning bolts. The group frequently produces YouTube videos featuring masked Atomwaffen members hiking through the backcountry and firing weapons. They’ve also filmed themselves burning the U.S. Constitution and setting fire to the American flag at an Atomwaffen “Doomsday Hatecamp.”

    “Atomwaffen’s biggest inspiration seems to be James Mason, a long-time fascist who belonged to the American Nazi Party and later, during the 1970s, joined a more militant offshoot. During the 1980s, Mason published a newsletter called SIEGE, in which he eschewed political activism in favor of creating a new fascist regime through murder, small “lone wolf” terror attacks, and all-out war against the government. Mason also struck up a friendship with the late Charles Manson, who has become another hero for Atomwaffen.

    “The organization first gained a measure of national attention in May of last year, when 18-year-old Devon Arthurs, one of Atomwaffen’s founding members, was charged in state court in Tampa, Florida, with murdering two of his roommates, Andrew Oneschuk, 18, and Jeremy Himmelman, 22. Both victims were Atomwaffen loyalists.”

    Who’s the bigger threat?

  2. George Washington owned slaves. We need to change the name of our capital from Washington to Lincoln, DL. The District of Lincoln makes more sense than District of Columbia.

    • Turning it into Douglass County is actually a far more likely outcome…it’s being talked about in the DC/VA/MD area.

      • If the decision were left up to the Peoples’ Republics of Arlington County, Fairfax County, Mongomery County, and Prince George’s Country, I’m sure they would give the District statehood with its own cutesy-poo name tomorrow. Fortunately, it isn’t up to them.

    • Why? Read the 1st inaugural. Lincoln was perfectly happy to leave the slaves where they were if SC hadn’t been so stupid as to fire on Sumpter and never would have agreed to giving them the vote had he lived. If you’re going to demand purity on the slavery question and slobbering adoration of the enslaved, he’s not your hero.

  3. The problem with one set of laws for some Americans and another set of laws….wait make that NO LAWS for liberals is eventually conservatives are going to demand equal non-justice under the law and expect to be able to commit crimes without consequences too.

  4. There is another First Amendment rights story out of North Carolina which “bears” mention here. This is primarily a Second Amendment case. A group of people in New Bern (which means Bear in German) founded a Second Amendment rights group called The Right To Arm Bears. They have employed the existence of a tooth and gum infection which is prevalent in NC this winter to advocate their ideas. It seems that many people have swollen gums at the base of their front teeth and are experiencing pain. An antibiotic brushed on with a tooth brush will kill the pain and wipe out the infection.
    The Right To Arm Bears group filed a declaratory judgement lawsuit which seeks injunctiive relief to bar persons from selling or using the tooth drug. It seems that the plaintiffs group actually spread around the infection in Eastern North Carolina to promote their cause.

    The plaintiffs alleged in the state court proceeding that the stomp down of the tooth and gum infection violated their free speech rights.. They allege that the right of bears to be armed in North Carolina is protected by the Second Amendment. They state that the Framers of the Constitution and of the Second Amendment were dyslectic and meant to say: The right to arm bears… Not: the right to bear arms. The group has been arming bears in Pamlico County with hand grenades and employing them in their Pamlico County militia. New Bern is in Craven County and Pamlico County is one county over to the East and sits on the coast and contains the Outer Banks. It has the highest bear population in North Carolina.

    A state court judge has ruled in the plaintiffs’ favor and issued an injunction barring any public officer from interfering with the arming of bears and also from distributing anti biotics to stem the tooth and gum disease going around. The first aspect of the injunction is based on the Second Amendment right to arm bears (a human right and a bear right) and the second aspect is based on the First Amendment right to petition the government for redress of grievances.

    A bear from Pamlico County attended the court proceedings.

    Meanwhile, in New Bern, the bears are having a celebration of life at the Union Park on Sunday afternoon. The humans are sponsoring this. Invitees are invited to bring a grenade for donation.

    • Please Note: my above comment is purely in gest. Or is it: “jest”? The point is: bears need love too. I have a bumper sticker which says that.

  5. Isn’t North Carolina one of the states that’s kinda proud of being ground zero of “mob justice” anyway? At least in the historical context dontcha know.

    • I lived down there for a while and have family there too. North Carolina is South Massachusetts – a gorgeous state with lots of great attributes and a tendency to lean left much of the time.

  6. 500,000 individuals are in U.S. jails without having a conviction, a circumstance attributed to the bail system.
    The American Bail Coalition describes ALEC (Koch’s) as its life preserver. Information can be found at the Sourcewatch website.

    • Do some math for me. Less than 5% of black men are incarcerated. That means that 95% of black men are NOT incarcerated. Explain to me how that translates to a 77% black illegitimate birth rate.

      Are a significant number of non-incarcerated black men impotent???

      Enquiring minds want to know.

      Squeeky Fromm
      Girl Reporter

        • My guess is that Asians don’t do much crime. In spite of all that history of anti-Chinese activity and laws of the 1800s and early 1900s. For some reason, Asian-Americans were able to get past all that and become valuable, contributing members of society. Unlike many blacks, like Enigma, who are still stuck back in 1850 and all the slavery stuff.

          Squeeky Fromm
          Girl Reporter

          • I agree. Notice how virtually ALL demographic stats on any given topic omit Asians. It’s deliberate because it runs contrary to the narrative of “people of color”.

            • They also omit Asians when they talk about the Poor Old Blacks and culturally biased tests. Hmmm, Asians who come here are at an even greater cultural disconnect, yet they seem to be able to ace the tests. Maybe because they study instead of whine.

              Squeeky Fromm
              Girl Reporter

  7. They need to be Charged with a Felony with a Lenient sentence of massive hours of Community Service at a Museum, National Park or some other Historical Site. We can have an adult conversation about all these Statues without it divulging into yelling, shouting & violence, if the people who live where they are do not want them, they can be moved to a more appropriate place such as a National Park, Museum or other Historical Site. We can not afford to lose our History for Future Generations to learn about and view, it will not work to try and rewrite History. The Civil War was special in that it had families fighting against families, brothers against brothers, etc. We need to teach our children about all our History, so the bad is not repeated. We all also need to step back and keep in mind that culture & norms were different in all the time periods. What is racism today was accepted for hundreds of years back then, this is what needs to be taught and compare it to today’s world so people can learn from mistakes of the past! Mob Rule never solves problems, it only creates more problems!

  8. Well, that makes me sad… these lowlife have nothing idiots will now be encouraged to do more damage to things that don’t belong to them. Where are there lawyers and judges who care about our society rather than being politically correct?

  9. “The Marshall plan rebuilt Europe.”

    Linda that is partially correct. The Marshall Plan helped to rebuild Europe and Stalin destroyed the eastern half along with his own country.

      • Linda, The Russian people were exploited in the same fashion that your ideology will exploit any people.

        Business people make money all over the world and deal with many different governments. If that didn’t occur the chances are you wouldn’t be typing these silly messages on a personal computer and you would be a lot poorer.

  10. How would you feel of statues being all over your towns and cities that you knew, and history had proved to be racist and wrong? Statues that glorified people that fought against the very flag you now revere. Can we put statues of Tojo in American communities? Hitler in areas? You can bet Americans would not that at all. Just as American blacks want to look at what they have been forced to look at their whole lives.

    • I don’t know many blacks who are concerned about Confederate statues down heah in Dixie — there are far more pressing issues – jobs, safe communities, access to a quality education, access to health care, etc. — and depending on where they live worrying about whether their fathers, sons, nephews, cousins and brothers may be shot by a rogue cop.

      And the few who are bothered by Confederate relicts are not destroying property to make their point.

      Here in Charleston there is a statue commemorating John C. Calhoun in a prominent city park which some wanted removed – after debate (Note to SJWs: this is what civilized people engage in rather than destruction) — it has been decided to leave it intact with the addition of a plaque which puts it into context for those who are unfamiliar with history (90% of visitors???)

      “This monument to John C. Calhoun (1782-1850), erected in 1896, was the culmination of efforts begun in 1858 to commemorate his career. It was erected at a time, after Reconstruction, when most white South Carolinians believed in white supremacy, and the state enacted legislation establishing racial segregation. These ideas are now universally condemned.

      “Calhoun served as Vice-President of the United States under two presidents, as U.S. Secretary of War, as U.S. Secretary of State, as a U.S. Senator from South Carolina and as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. A political theorist, he was the author of two important works on the U.S. Constitution and the Federal Government.

      “A member of the Senate’s “Great Triumvirate,” which included Daniel Webster of Massachusetts and Henry Clay of Kentucky, Calhoun championed states’ rights and nullification, the right of an individual state to invalidate a federal law which it viewed as unconstitutional.

      “Unlike many of the founding fathers, who viewed the enslavement of Africans as “a necessary evil” possibly to be overcome, Calhoun defended the institution of race-based slavery as a “positive good.”

      “The statue remains standing today as a reminder that many South Carolinians once viewed Calhoun as worthy of memorialization even though his political positions included his support of race-based slavery, an institution repugnant to the core ideas and values of the United States of America.

      “Historic preservation, to which Charleston is dedicated, includes this monument as a lesson to future generations of the importance of historical context when examining individuals and events in our state’s past.”

      http://abcnews4.com/news/local/charleston-john-calhoun-statue-slavery-plaque

      • The vote against Roy Moore showed that people are sick of da confederacy symbols like Moore. Why do you call people da “blacks”? Don’t hear you callin people “whites”?

        • . Moore is a living person – and he barely lost which should be a clear indication that the culture has not changed much. Are the Dims in AL going to finally help the denizens in Lowndes Co? No, I thought not so it will most likely revert back.

          However, last I checked we were talking about historical artifacts related to the Confederacy.

      • So if you are American Black you have to see the statue of Calhoun for its “Historic Preservation” ? How many statues are there for the contributions that American blacks have done for N. Carolina?

        • First, you have to find some positive contributions that blacks have made for North Carolina. Hmmm. I got it! The Statue of the Unknown Woods Colt, because of all the extra social workers, police, jailers, trauma surgeons, and remedial education teachers necessary to ameliorate the extra burden placed on society by the black whores! We could put a ghettopotamus on a statute, complete with hair weave!

          Because the rate is around 77% now for blacks.

          http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/77-black-births-to-single-moms-49-for-hispanic-immigrants/article/2622236

          Squeeky Fromm
          Girl Reporter

        • No idea – I live in SOUTH Carolina – in Charleston where the Civil War began. Tourism is an important industry and people come here from all over to explore that history – as well as see the amazing architecture and eat great food. A sanitized city would irrevocably alter the city.

          We cannot erase history – only learn from it.

          • It is up to the people of the city or state to legally decide what to do with the statues, not a bunch of hoodlums that belong in jail.

    • FishWings, have you ever thought about the Rule of Law rather than your feelings? The reason we don’t have slavery in this country today is that of the Rule of Law. The reason slavery is seen in some other countries is that they do not have the Rule of Law.

      • Are you kidding??? Fishwings doesn’t think about anything. Fishwings just smiles and beams and thumps itself on the chest for being sooo tolerant of everything, sooo open minded that there is no longer a mind in there.

        Squeeky Fromm
        Girl Reporter

        • Squeeky, I was reading Churchill again, something I doubt our Liberal friends ever do. They like to destroy rather than build. I saw this quote that those cheering the destruction of statues should think about.

          Churchill said: “A nation that forgets its past has no future”. Maybe that is what the radical left wishes.

          • To me, its a yes and no thing. I was telling Enigma last night that he needs to forget slavery, and Jim Crow, and live in 2018. Because I think him and most other blacks (and white liberals) dwell way too much on that stuff to the exclusion of life in the year 2018. I mean, its bullsh*t to blame Jim Crow for a 77% illegitimate birth rate in 2017.

            I guess if I had to deconstruct it a little, I would tell him to remember the history of slavery, and the history of Jim Crow, but not let that overpower the fact that things have changed, and it is time to move on. I think that is how most white folks and others (egs. the Japs) handle it. We remember World War II, but we don’t still hate the Germans for it, nor I think do most of them still hate us. The Japs still have Hiroshima and Nagasaki memorials, and we have the USS Arizona Memorial, but our nations are friends and allies now. The same with us and Vietnam.

            So yeah, we should remember the past, but we also should “remember” the present, where we currently live.

            Am I making any sense there???

            Squeeky Fromm
            Girl Reporter

            PS: Do you smoke a pipe by any chance???

            • Why would you ask if I smoke a pipe? (no)

              History is important. Why did Spielberg catalog the survivors of the Holocaust? So it would not be forgotten.

              I never want to forget that this country had slavery and overcame that problem while moving forward looking towards a brighter future. Obama wanted to use that American black eye to beat up on America and moved the nation backward. Had he had the opposite vision he could have been a great President at least in that area.

              Enigma uses history for the wrong purposes. It’s a pity for his attitude only creates more pain and suffering.

              • You seem like a smart person, and a lot of smart people smoke pipes. Sooo, I thought I would ask. I bet PaulCS smokes one. It is one of my secret vices, and last week I ordered some tobacco online, because it is kind of embarrassing to buy tobacco in person, being a girl. Anyway, I found some really good stuff called Amphora Full Aroma. Next, I am going to order a real pipe, because mine is real, but I think maybe there is more to the world of pipes than my corncob one. On days that Penelope does not need me at the office, I sit outside with Snaggletooth, the sick cat, on a leash and work the puzzles and smoke my pipe. Where nobody can see me.

                Was this off topic??? Didn’t Churchill smoke a corncob pipe, too??? Somebody did, I just know.

                Squeeky Fromm
                Girl Reporter

                • Thanks.

                  General MacArthur smoked a corncob and Churchill smoked cigars.

                  Liberals like to smoke pot.

                  How come you didn’t go to law school? Or did you?

                  • Uh, honestly, too lazy. Plus, I would have to move and leave my critters. Not just the cats, but all the outside birds, squirrels, possums, and raccoons. I can make good money as a paralegal and legal assistant. At least enough to not have to touch any of the family money. I could also teach if I chose, or go into several other lines of work if I need to.

                    Squeeky Fromm
                    Girl Reporter

                • Squeeky – I quit smoking 35 years ago after doing major damage to my lungs (COPD), however, I really never did get into pipes. Cigars and cigarettes, yes.

  11. Linda:

    “Marshall’s plan actually cost the United States very little, since it was largely paid for by European purchases of American coal, agricultural crops, and machinery.” You might call it a lost leader.

  12. It is impossible to introduce into society a greater change and a greater evil than this: the conversion of the law into an instrument of plunder.

    What are the consequences of such a perversion? It would require volumes to describe them all. Thus we must content ourselves with pointing out the most striking.

    In the first place, it erases from everyone’s conscience the distinction between justice and injustice.

    No society can exist unless the laws are respected to a certain degree. The safest way to make laws respected is to make them respectable. When law and morality contradict each other, the citizen has the cruel alternative of either losing his moral sense or losing his respect for the law. These two evils are of equal consequence, and it would be difficult for a person to choose between them.

    The nature of law is to maintain justice. This is so much the case that, in the minds of the people, law and justice are one and the same thing. There is in all of us a strong disposition to believe that anything lawful is also legitimate. This belief is so widespread that many persons have erroneously held that things are “just” because law makes them so. Thus, in order to make plunder appear just and sacred to many consciences, it is only necessary for the law to decree and sanction it. Frederic Bastiat

    A more modern reflection on this principle came from Ronald Reagan when he said: If you want more of something, subsidize it; if you want less of something, tax it.

    What this DA has done is to effectively subsidize the crime by reducing the felony to a misdemeanor.

  13. So if I see any of these eight criminals on the street and I happen to punch the shit out of them will my charges be reduced to simple assault?

  14. Place it in a museum? To remember the idiots that took over “Us in America”. No thank you. It should be melted and reused to then make a mold of Donald Trump.

  15. So if I go to Manhattan and Seattle, and three other places in America with Lenin monuments, will the judge be lenient toward knowing I wrecked the statues?

  16. “However, the destruction of a public art piece in a mob action has been deemed unworthy of a felony charge.”

    The prosecutor should find another job, perhaps flipping hamburgers.

    “Since these outrageous charges were filed against us, thousands upon thousands of people from across the country have called the DA and other city officials demanding the charges be dropped.”

    Guilt and innocence are turning into a reality show.

  17. They deserve to be held accountable and putting them in jail simply isn’t enough – for one thing it would cost the taxpayers and put more money into the pockets of the prison industrial complex.

    It would be much better to keep them out in the public’s eye – sentence them to say 5 years of picking up trash around Durham wearing neon jumpsuits while performing this service. This would be a deterrant for the Antifa types who think they are above the law.

      • “You are a fascist”
        ~+~

        Wow, we never saw that coming ! Naaawwwttt

        The canard “You are a fascist” is today’s version of when we in the 1980’s mockingly said “Those bedwetting commie pinkos” to ridicule people who resorted to McCarthy Style accusations while foaming at the mouth with rage.

        What will it be in the 2020s? “You meddling plutocrats!?”

        • It is fascist to put kids in highway chain gangs for 5 years for knocking over a statue or perhaps you agree that is an appropriate punishment.

          • Highway chain gangs?? Naw, I am thinking either a Saturday or Sunday for 5 years and somewhere in the city where they are visible.

            Destruction of public property – what about that can’t you understand? I may disagree with my neighbor’s bumper sticker – does that give me the right to key his/her/zer car?

            ACOUNTABILITY. And, again I reiterate: 35 and 39 year olds are NOT kids

          • Nearly everything you oppose is either “fascist”, “racist”, “bigoted”, “Oppressive”, etc.. Such labels you parrot range from someone who votes Republican to a historical truth you object to. As a consequence these labels no longer have significance or meaning due to wanton overuse. Such hyperbole ordinary results in a person losing credibility, but since you possess none of this quality I suppose the subject is rather moot.

            And dat is da trufth.

            • I thought sentencing people to excessivecommunity services was one of the major crimes against humanity committed by Hitler’s regime.😏

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