Sheriff Mike Andrews of Durham, N.C., filed felony riot charges against activists who toppled a Confederate memorial this week. A City Councilman and a law professor questioned the severity of the felony charge.
A University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill law professor and a Durham, N.C., City Councilman question whether those arrested in connection with the toppling of the Durham County Confederate memorial should face felony charges, reports the Durham Herald-Sun. City Councilman Charlie Reece asked Sheriff Mike Andrews not to press felony charges against the accused and law Prof. Joseph Kennedy questions the basis of the felony charges. Andrews said he would pursue felony charges and added, “Let me be clear, no one is getting away with what happened.”
The four activists arrested as of yesterday have been charged with two misdemeanors – disorderly conduct by injury of a statue, damage to real property – and two felonies – participation in a riot with property damage in excess of $1,500 and inciting others to riot where there is property demand in excess of $1,500. Reece questioned whether the statue, which he called a “hunk of junk metal,” was worth $1,500. The decision on the charges is up to District Attorney Roger Echols. Kennedy said North Carolina law defines a riot as requiring both disorderly conduct and violence. He questions what acts of violence, if any, the protesters committed.