Durham, North Carolina protesters who took down a Confederate monument in front of the city's courthouse will not face felony charges for taking down the statue by force.
In the aftermath of the August 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, a group of predominantly white activists decided to take it upon themselves to remove the monument commemorating the Confederacy. Durham County District Attorney Roger Echols said Thursday, “We won’t try them on the felonies, only the misdemeanors.”
North Carolina Central University law professor Scott Holmes represented the eight activists allegedly responsible for the removal.
They were a few among a large crowd of other protesters who wanted to denounce white supremacy after the violence in Charlottesville. For two days, a coalition of various white nationalists, Ku Klux Klan members, neo-Nazi and Confederate sympathizers clashed with Antifa activists. The rally culminated with an attack carried out by James Alex Fields Jr. that led to 32-year-old Heather Heyer's death and 19 others injured.
While there will be no felony charges, the activists will have to deal with a new misdemeanor charge of conspiracy to deface real property.
According to The Herald-Sun, charges were dropped against three protesters identified as Aaron Caldwell, Taylor Cook and Myles Spigner of the 12 protesters originally charged for toppling the monument and participating in a riot in the early weeks of last November.
Now, the remaining eight will face District Court Judge Frederick S. Battaglia Jr. in a trial scheduled for Feb. 19.