Charges Against Three Defend Durham Demonstrators Dropped | News
News
INDY Week's news blog

Archives | RSS

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Charges Against Three Defend Durham Demonstrators Dropped

Posted by on Wed, Nov 8, 2017 at 3:39 PM

Charges against three people accused of damaging a Confederate monument torn down in Durham this summer have been dismissed. 

Alexander Caldwell, Taylor Cook, and Myles Spigner were among twelve people charged in connection with an August 14 demonstration in which a crowd, gathered in response to a violent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville the weekend before, pulled down a statue of a Confederate soldier that had stood in front of the former Durham County Courthouse. The demonstration, and the vehement response from the Durham County Sheriff's Office, spawned a movement known as Defend Durham.
click to enlarge Durham, North Carolina - Friday August 18, 2017 - The base of the Confederate monument was vandalized during a protest in downtown Durham, NC. People gathered in downtown Durham, NC to protest a proposed KKK Rally the afternoon of Friday August 18, 2017. - ALEX BOERNER
  • Alex Boerner
  • Durham, North Carolina - Friday August 18, 2017 - The base of the Confederate monument was vandalized during a protest in downtown Durham, NC. People gathered in downtown Durham, NC to protest a proposed KKK Rally the afternoon of Friday August 18, 2017.

"It's not surprising that these charges have been dismissed because there was no evidence these people committed any act of vandalism," said attorney Scott Holmes, who is representing those charged. "It demonstrates what we have said previously, that the sheriff was overzealous in the way he took out felony charges."

Charges against the rest of the group, and three people facing charges related to a protest that followed later in the week, are still pending.

Cook, Caldwell, and Spigner had been charged with felony inciting a riot as well as damaging property. Under state law, a riot is a public disturbance that results in or presents a clear danger of injury to a person or property. Rioting is a felony charge if the disturbance caused more than $1,500 in property damage, seriously injured someone, or involved a dangerous weapon or substance.

"Although probable cause exists that the defendant committed criminal offenses," say court records for each, "the evidence is insufficient to prove the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. After careful review of the evidence, there is no visual evidence that the defendant physically took part in any destruction of property."

Sheriff's deputies filmed the August 14 demonstration and video of the monument being torn down was widely circulated. 

After Sheriff Mike Andrews announced that his office would be pursuing felony charges against the protesters, District Attorney Roger Echols said he would only prosecute people directly involved in the destruction of the monument. Echols also said he would take into account "the pain" in Durham and the nation after Charlottesville, as well as the fact that Durham residents have no recourse for seeking the removal of such monuments, which are protected by a state law. 
click to enlarge Law enforcement looks on after demonstrators toppled a Confederate monument in front of a Durham County building Monday night, before marching down Main Street. - SARAH WILLETS
  • Sarah Willets
  • Law enforcement looks on after demonstrators toppled a Confederate monument in front of a Durham County building Monday night, before marching down Main Street.


Echols asked county commissioners and staff to estimate the value of the monument. The Board of Commissioners last month delivered two financial estimates, but in a letter to Echols added that the statue has "no moral value for our community."

"With respect to these charges that were dismissed, the value of the monument has no impact on their charges because he could have reduced them to a misdemeanor if he believed they had participated in any act of vandalism," Holmes said. "The valuation may be important for the cases that are still pending."

Seven other demonstrators are due in court Tuesday, although it's likely their cases will be continued to December 5, along with others in the group.

Tags: , , ,

Pin It

Comments (9)

Showing 1-9 of 9

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-9 of 9

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in News



Twitter Activity

Comments

Irrespective of receiving daily oral or future injectable depot therapies, these require health care visits for medication and monitoring of …

by Jesus Mckinney on Study: N.C. among 10 states with highest HIV infection, death rates (News)

RE; "Perhaps its a good thing that, unlike Puerto Rico, we have electoral votes."
-----You NAILED that one, spot-on.

by Mike PALADIN on President Trump Visited North Carolina This Morning to Console Us, Check on His Golf Course (News)

Most Recent Comments

Irrespective of receiving daily oral or future injectable depot therapies, these require health care visits for medication and monitoring of …

by Jesus Mckinney on Study: N.C. among 10 states with highest HIV infection, death rates (News)

RE; "Perhaps its a good thing that, unlike Puerto Rico, we have electoral votes."
-----You NAILED that one, spot-on.

by Mike PALADIN on President Trump Visited North Carolina This Morning to Console Us, Check on His Golf Course (News)

Your headline is misleading... there is nothing in this story about him actually visiting his golf course and checking on …

by rlstrnad on President Trump Visited North Carolina This Morning to Console Us, Check on His Golf Course (News)

N&O reports he said "I can't tell you why, but I love that area." Which is it? I need to …

by terryboo on President Trump Visited North Carolina This Morning to Console Us, Check on His Golf Course (News)

You need to correct it. Duke Energys CEO is Lynn Good. …

by Chad Jones on President Trump Visited North Carolina This Morning to Console Us, Check on His Golf Course (News)

© 2018 Indy Week • 320 E. Chapel Hill St., Suite 200, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation