Durham District Attorney Dismisses All Charges Against Defendants Who Destroyed Statue In Public, Premeditated Act

cfakepathmugshots212_20170816_180608-e1502929057745We recently discussed the decision of Durham District Attorney Roger Echols to drop felony charges against protesters who destroyed a civil war monument in a premeditated and videotaped crime.  The popularity of the crime was obvious as voters rallied around the accused — support that some have alleged pressured Echols to reduce the charges to mere misdemeanors.  That reduction however was still criticized by the defendants and their supporters. Now, after an unfavorable ruling by a court, Echols has dropped all charges against defendants who not just committed criminal acts on camera but proudly proclaimed their guilt.  It is hard not to view the outcome as an example of popular crimes enjoying a level of immunity.

As discussed earlier, 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.

Thompson 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.”

A judge recently tossed charges against two suspects and found a third defendant not guilty. That seemed to open the door for Echols to take the popular step of dropping any and all charges.  So, a mob can be organized and then destroy public art or memorials on videotape and not be prosecuted for even a misdemeanor in Durham . . .  so long as the crime is popular.  Would the same result occur if white supremacists torn down a Martin Luther King statue? If not, the difference would seem to be agreement or support with the criminal act. Prosecutors and courts are not supposed to show any deference or favoritism in the enforcement of such laws.

Echols insisted that he wanted to try them for misdemeanors and “acts of vandalism, regardless of noble intent, are still violations of law.” Indeed, it would seem to be felonies when you destroy public art that is roughly a century old.  Instead, there is public celebration as these defendants escape any criminal liability for crimes committed in broad daylight.

Echols took no questions after announcing “This concludes the criminal prosecution of the individuals charged in the Aug. 14 destruction of a Confederate monument in Durham County.”

Indeed, it concludes more than just this case.  The next time a mob decides to destroy public art, Echols will be hard pressed to prosecute the felons without establishing open hypocrisy in the enforcement of state law.

54 thoughts on “Durham District Attorney Dismisses All Charges Against Defendants Who Destroyed Statue In Public, Premeditated Act”

  1. Well, considering how much you support the current criminal administration, I wouldn’t think this is a problem for you at all, Turley. You know trump has committed serious financial crimes, or he would have released his taxes long ago, also, the continuing problems with people getting clean security clearances. If these people can’t even get through a security clearance, they have to be fired. To keep them there when they shouldn’t be allowed to see high level security stuff is a crime in itself.

    1. emw,…
      – While not publicly released, the IRS presumably has Trump’s tax returns.
      And by your assumptions, they have the evidence of “serious financial crimes” that would be obvious to the public if released.
      This raises the obvious question of why the government has not charged Trump with these “serious financial crimes”; I don’t think that the government has needed public approval to prosecute Trump for these alleged crimes.

      1. Come on Tom, you’re ruining the story! I think emw was just about to open Cappone’s vault. Oops, wrong story…emw was going to tell us Trump knows where Hoffa was buried. Damn, now see what you’ve done.

        Anyway, more popcorn please!

    2. So much illogical and just plain silly about your post. This is NOT about Trump. Try and focus on what the issue is here. But, addressing Trump. You “KNOW” someone is guilty because they refuse to release their tax returns?? Really??? I suggest you not even read this blog an longer, as it clearly is about how the law applies to people and circumstances. You seem to not care about any of our laws or how they are supposed to be administered fairly and without bias.

  2. A previous district attorney in Durham County was disbarred for being too eager to pander to the SJWs in the Duke Lacrosse case. That county is an absolute shithole.

    Yeah, I said that.

    1. The Research Triangle should be renamed the Twisted Triangle – not to diss all the engineers and scientists who work there – but the SJWs are in control. Western NC is a wholly different area – spiritual vibe with an interesting mix of folks who get along. I will never forget stopping off to get a bite to eat in Hendersonville on my way home. On the Main Street a large battered pickup truck appeared full of young exuberant white guys with a yuuge Confederate flag flying – a black beat cop comes walking around the corner and they stop and exchange pleasantries. The Irish pub was filled with old, young, hippies, rednecks, hipsters, college students sitting side by side. Live and let live seems to be the prevailing vibe.

  3. Is the law just, and blind, or not? Does politics sway the law?

    Because if this is how they applied the law in this case, then this is how they need to apply the law in every case.

    There is something seriously wrong with this latest generation. These young people are the generation of entitlement, hysteria, safe spaces, bullying others until they commit suicide, videotaping sexual assaults, unwed mothers, and school shootings. In the age of self aggrandizement on social media and reality TV, young people live in a constant state of anxiety, fight or flight, and selfishness. If you are bullied, you will be bullied across multiple social platforms until you acquiesce and kill yourself. When there is a school shooting, multiple schools across the nation will receive copycat threats. Being infamous is cool, and cowardly acts will make you known. Young people are in such a state of limbic excitement, that when an election doesn’t go their way, they will tremble, cry, and scream that they literally need an ambulance unless someone puts Hillary Clinton in power now! The only thing missing is holding their breath until they turn blue. They believe anything they are told on the internet or mainstream media. If some meme goes around that minorities will be shot in the street because Donald Trump got elected, then they will not only believe it, but will go protest it. If they are told that all police are racist, then they will go protest that. No one knows how to research a single issue. If one of their contemporaries shoots up a school because the FBI, mental health professionals, and various other actors dropped the ball, repeatedly, they are not up in arms about that. They are screaming and crying for all guns to be banned. Without guile, they will on the one hand claim that they are not taking away anyone’s guns, but in the same conversation, they will say that banning some guns is just a start to getting to all of them. They self segregate according to race in universities. They march up to the podium and shout down their professors. They block classes. Are openly racist against whites. They make demands and try to force their will upon everyone else.

    I have absolutely no idea what the most neurotic generation in the history of mankind could do to get their act together at this point. And they are going to be running things, soon. They can’t even balance a checkbook or tolerate an opposing opinion’s very existence, let alone proximity. Howling mad, nearly the lot of them. Since upsetting opposing facts and views have been carefully kept away from these fragile lunatics, how in the world are they going to function in such a diverse world? What mayhem will they bring to the Constitution that gave us unique freedoms? They need to be cared for like invalids, so they will demand that the nation care for all of us.

    These people are violently unstable.

    1. Karen,

      This generation is being trained to be anti-everything we used to stand for. The govt. has the monopoly on education so the indoctrination has begun on gun control. Guns will be illegal here in the future. It might take a generation or two but they are training the kids of today to blame the second amendment for everything. The same tactic was used by the LBGQTVDSXYJ (or what ever they call themselves) minority as they pushed their doctrine on the kids. If you look, they didn’t go after people in our generation, they went after the schools. Now you have kids graduation that are all “inclusive” instead of realizing that most of that minority needs mental health, not an operation. If you speak out against it, you will just get a label thrown at you. Guns will go much the same way, it’s just a matter of time. Again, if you don’t think this is right, just look at how college level kids feel about the right to free speech. Did you ever in your life think that they would not value it?

  4. Banks destroy the financial industry by the use of fraud and no one goes to jail. Politicians ok the use of torture and no one goes to jail. White collar theft results in minimum time while petty theft of a burger gets serious jail time. Federal agencies that have been set up to protect the people and the environment and our finances hare being deliberately and systematically destroyed.

    “The people” don’t like the double standard where only they face penalties for illegal behavior. Since the PTB aren’t likely to provide justice equity by prosecuting their own, the people demand elimination of the double standard by getting similar justice to that given the moneyed and connected.

        1. People like throwing statements like “Banks destroy the financial industry by the use of fraud and no one goes to jail.” around but never can explain what law the banks supposedly broke and when asked, you get silence because bettykath doesn’t really care if the law was broken, she just doesn’t like rich people who are good at playing a game with rules that they didn’t set.

      1. I believe she specified fraud, without however telling us which cases she was talking about. On the other hand, Bernie Madoff got 150 years, jeff skilling of Enron got 14 years, Martin Shkreli is facing a 20 year sentence on his conviction.

        These are just the cases that I, someone who doesn’t really pay much attention to white collar crime, can think off the top of my head in just a few minutes. If someone had enough genuine interest, she could google it and find any number of other comparable cases.

        1. the three you mentioned did not work for any bank. The fraud was bundling worthless mortgages and selling them off as prime investments.

          1. Quoting you:

            “White collar theft results in minimum time while petty theft of a burger gets serious jail time. “

  5. This reminds me of when I was a late teenager reading in the paper how a local abortion doctors house was used as a protest site for right to lifers. They were eventually arrested for trespassing (some had multiple offenses) and they refused to pay their fines and nothing happened to these people. Meanwhile, me and my long haired friends got tickets for trespassing on a waterfall that we used to go to all the time and the judge literally told us, that he was pursuing the full fine to “make an example of us”.

    Around the same time one of my long haired friends was t-boned in an intersection by a state trooper. My friend was driving a 72 Caddy he picked up for $500. Lots of witnesses showed my friend was in the right. All he wanted was his $500 but when he went to court the judge told him, “Listen kid, you are not going to win this against the state troopers”.

    I’ve thought lawyers, courts and the law have sucked ever since and sure as hell will never trust any of them.

    The court and law lie every day. If you don’t think so, just go to traffic court and you will see people pleading down speeding tickets for “parking on the pavement” all day long.

  6. The Complete Perversion of the Law

    But, unfortunately, law by no means confines itself to its proper functions. And when it has exceeded its proper functions, it has not done so merely in some inconsequential and debatable matters. The law has gone further than this; it has acted in direct opposition to its own purpose. The law has been used to destroy its own objective: It has been applied to annihilating the justice that it was supposed to maintain; to limiting and destroying rights which its real purpose was to respect. The law has placed the collective force at the disposal of the unscrupulous who wish, without risk, to exploit the person, liberty, and property of others. It has converted plunder into a right, in order to protect plunder. And it has converted lawful defense into a crime, in order to punish lawful defense. Frederic Bastiat

  7. A premeditated act requires rational thought of which the judgement is wrong-blatantly wrong.
    A group photo with the proud and judge is in order.

  8. Simply wrong. Firstly, history should not be erased. History should be clarified. The inclusion of a plaque explaining the real issues attached to this personage of the statue would achieve much more for those offended by the statue.

    The precedent set goes beyond this incident. The perps are akin to vigilantes and should be treated as such.

  9. Like I’ve said before; many people that might get away with one crime will eventually screw up again and there will be another chance to prosecute them. Sadly in this case, another object will be destroyed in the process.

  10. Horrible precedent for “judge” who bows to the political winds of our time. He is the same as racist judges who refused to punish white supremacy in the 1900’s.
    His family will not be blessed but cursed for generations.

    1. There is NO such thing as “white supremacy”. That we need to incorporate and use a Masonic/Marxist agitprop term? Todd, you miss your old Soviet Union, don’t you? Cry every night that the bloody anarchist/commies lost the Spanish Civil War, do you? “White supremacy”? Hate your own skin do you?

    1. Ohhhh nooooo, are we that historically ignorant? The North failed to enforce the fugitive slave laws. This DA is not setting precedent. Northern courts habitually, across the North failed to enforce the law.

      There is NO rule of law in America. Progressives don’t have to. They do their own thing, and they are above the law. Their sh*t don’t stink.

      1. Actually the northern courts complied with state laws, an example of states’ rights. Really pissed off the plantation owners of the south.

  11. It was the logical choice. He would have had multiple suicides on his hands had the delicate little snowflakes stepped inside a jail cell.

  12. In our noble efforts to be “inclusive” we have as a society deteriorated into a nation of criminal enablers.

    Such decisions as the dismissal of charges in this case, have the hallmarks of the exasperating law of diminishing returns: you try so hard for a beneficial end result, that you end up with the precise opposite.

    This jaw-dropping decision to wink at disrespectful, criminal behavior guarantees more – and still more – of the same wretched, self-righteousness.

    We reap precisely what we sow. And what we are sowing is never-ending garbage level misbehavior.

      1. surimike – I have been to Butte several times. I took my first draft physical there in 1961. 😉 The girls are tougher than the guys in the rest of the state. 🙂

        1. A distant ancestor of mine, I think some sort of dinosaur according to the people that run the Noah’s Ark Theme Park, lived in Butte. Maybe I’m confusing that ancestor with my grandfather, who someone once called an “old fossil.”

              1. David Benson – that pit always seems to get bigger or maybe it is an optical illusion. They seem to be moving the fencing out more each time I drive through there.

  13. When I lived in Chapel Hill, somebody who resided over there called Durham the armpit of the nation.

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