DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — Charges have been dropped against three of the people charged with tearing down a Confederate monument in front of the old Durham County courthouse on Aug. 14, said Durham County’s District Attorney Roger Echols.
Around 7:10 p.m. on Aug. 14, a woman using a ladder climbed the statue of a Confederate soldier and attached a rope around the statue.
Moments later, the crowd pulled on the rope and the statue fell. One man quickly ran up and spat on the statue and several others began kicking it.
Durham police later said they monitored the protests to make sure they were “safe,” but did not interfere with the statue toppling because it happened on county property.
“Because this incident occurred on county property, where county law enforcement officials were staffed, no arrests were made by DPD officers,” Durham Police spokesman Wil Glenn wrote in an email statement.
In 1924, the Confederate statue was dedicated to Durham.
Engraved on the front of the monument is “The Confederate States of America.”
Above it, was the statue representing a soldier who fought in the civil war.
“Today we got a small taste of justice,” protester Jose Ramos said after the statue was down.
Thirteen people were arrested in the days following the incident.
The three people who had the charges against them dropped are Aaron Caldwell, Myles Spigner and Taylor Cook, according to Echols.
Echols told CBS North Carolina that “we filed voluntary dismissals for three of the individuals charged” and that there “are related cases pending against 10 others.” Echols said there was no evidence that the three people “physically participated in taking the statue down.”
Some of the remaining suspects who are still facing charges are set to have a court appearances on Nov. 14 and Dec. 5.
According to the Defend Durham Facebook page, the group will be holding an action on Nov. 14 where they’re encouraging people to call-in to Durham County to drop the charges on those arrested in the Confederate statue protest and to “repeal [the] racist law” passed in the North Carolina General Assembly that prevents local governments from removing confederate statues.
One of those charged in the incident, Dante Strobino, sent a statement on behalf of Defend Durham to CBS North Carolina regarding Thursday’s developments:
“As of November 1, 2017, Defend Durham has been informed by our legal team that the 2 felony and 3 misdemeanor charges against Zan Caldwell, Taylor Cook, and Myles Spignor in relation to the toppling of the Confederate statue in Durham on August 14 have been dismissed by the prosecutor. While this is a small step forward in this particular iteration of the fight against white supremacy, we must remember that we cannot trust the system to change that which it upholds. This was merely representative of a lack of evidence, not an acquiescence of power and certainly not an admission of guilt. We must continue to fight until the remaining 12 walk free, until no Confederate statues remain, until all institutions of white supremacy have been abolished. We say “Topple Racism – from Durham to the White House!”
We invite the press to join us at 10:00am on Tuesday, November 14 at the Durham County courthouse as several of our co-defendents stand trial and we announce the organizing of a People’s Tribunal Against White Supremacy. We will be releasing a fuller press statement in days to come regarding this Tribunal and our Commission of Inquiry along with charges against various government actors of white supremacy.”