Newly obtained text messages and emails reportedly reveal that police officers were instructed to stand aside as on August 20 protesters toppled the “Silent Sam” statue placed at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill in 1913 in memorial of alumni who served in the Confederate Army.
WRAL-TV reports that it received 400 pages of emails and texts sent to and from Police Chief Chris Blue around the time of the protest. The texts show that he told someone to “[m]onitor the masked folks,” and “[k]eep our folks off McCorkle place for now.”
At 9 p.m. he reportedly sent a text saying “let’s give them lots of space,” referring to the protesters. “Yes but do not engage w Crowd at statue. Stay way out,” another text said.
Blue also texted: “CHPD guys too close. Back up.”
The statue was torn down the same night these texts were sent.
The obtained emails also included letters from people who were disappointed with the way the police officers handled the incident.
“Any police force who will stand by, watch a crime committed, and do nothing about it, have failed in their sworn duties to the people,” William Richardson wrote in an email.
The day after the protests, Blue emailed his officers saying he was “proud of our agency’s history of protecting people. All of who were working last night most certainly did that well.”
According to the Herald Sun, Silent Sam protesters plan to have a dance party Thursday night while a “Confederate heritage” group, Alamance County Taking Back Alamance County, holds a twilight vigil for the memorial.