A North Carolina Central University student found herself in handcuffs late Tuesday, after she admitted at an “anti-fascist” rally in front of the Durham, North Carolina, county courthouse, that she ws the one who tossed a rope over a monument to conscripted Confederate soldiers and pulled it down.
Takiyah Fatima Thompson was shocked – shocked – when officers arrested her and booked her on charges of felony participation in a riot with property damage, and felony incitement of a riot. She had been leading a press conference on the courthouse steps to call for amnesty for those who did the “public service” of removing the monument.
A video, posted earlier on Tuesday, clearly shows Thompson leaning a ladder up against the statue and throwing a rope over its neck. She then enlists the help of fellow protesters to yank the statue down, eventually collapsing it onto the ground. The statue, which honored soldiers of the Confederate Army during the Civil War, has stood in Durham’s public square since 1924.
Thompson and her fellow protesters probably shouldn’t have been surprised that the cops were ready to make arrests: police in Durham announced Tuesday that they were seeking individuals, shown in several Internet videos, for questioning and possibly to face charges for malicious destruction of city property.
In response, Thompson and friends decided to hold a press conference calling for “amnesty” for their actions, because they were only pulling down monuments in the service of tolerance, peace, and progressive values – clearly a benevolent action – and therefore, they shouldn’t have to face punishment. Thompson herself spoke at the rally.
“To the boys who wore the grey.’” Thompson railed, “And if we understand history, we know that those boys who wore gray, today they wear blue and they wear sheets over there heads and they beat up black people and they beat up Latinx people, and they beat up queer people and that is the agenda.”
Sadly – or not so sadly – for Thompson, that doesn’t justify more than $1500 in property damage, and she barely got her last sentence out before she found herself in the back of a squad car.
In case you were wondering whether the rest of the crowd understood the nature of crime and punishment, as Thompson was led away, her fellow protesters began chanting, “Cops and Klan go hand-in-hand.”
Ed note: The article originally referred to the statue as honoring children. That is a separate monument located nearby.