As UNC Issues 3 Arrest Warrants over Confederate Statue’s Toppling, Board Member Says It Will Be Restored
Claire Hansen and Sarah Brown, Associated Press, August 24, 2018
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill campus police have issued arrest warrants for three people tied to the toppling last Monday of the prominent Confederate statue known as Silent Sam, multiple news outlets reported on Friday.
The three face misdemeanor charges of riot and defacing of a public monument. They were not publicly identified, as they have yet to be arrested, but none are affiliated with the university, a police spokesman told The News & Observer, a Raleigh newspaper. The spokesman said more arrests are possible.
Protesters tore down the statue on Monday night at the climax of a larger protest that had started hours earlier. Activists hailed the toppling as long overdue.
But one UNC-system board member said on Friday that it’s not a difficult question to answer. Thomas C. Goolsby, a former Republican state lawmaker, said North Carolina law requires the monument to be returned to its place on the Chapel Hill campus within 90 days.
“It’s very clear-cut in the law,” Goolsby said in an interview. The statute, enacted in 2015, protects “objects of remembrance” on public land. If a monument is “temporarily relocated,” the law states, it should be “returned to its original location within 90 days of completion of the project that required its temporary removal.”
Goolsby was not at the protest but watched many of the videos of it that were posted online. He said campus police officers had chosen not to act. “Police stood idly by, allowing people to climb up on the statue with absolutely no interference,” he said. “It’s completely outrageous.”
“Who,” he asked, “directed them to do nothing?”
Goolsby said his office had been flooded with calls this week from Chapel Hill graduates and “concerned citizens” who are appalled over the statue’s toppling and how officials and law-enforcement officers handled the event.
“It’s just most disturbing,” Goolsby said. “For the life of me I cannot understand what they were doing and not doing, and under whose direction.”