On Monday, a mob of leftwing activists stormed downtown Durham, North Carolina, as part of a protest that culminated in the destruction of a Confederate monument that was erected nearly 100 years ago. Now, Durham County Sheriff Mike Andrews has announced that his office will investigate the act.
Andrews took to Facebook to warn demonstrators that they could soon seek charges in relation to the protest, which was reportedly witnessed by sheriff’s deputies who did nothing to intervene or arrest the perpetrators at the time.
“County leaders were aware of the risk of damage to the Confederate statue, as well as, the potential risk of injury to the public and officers should deputies attempt to the control the crowd,” he wrote. “Collectively, we decided that restraint and public safety would be our priority.”
“As the Sheriff, I am not blind to the offensive conduct of some demonstrators nor will I ignore their criminal conduct,” Andrews continued. “With the help of video captured at the scene, my investigators are working to identify those responsible for the removal and vandalism of the statue.”
The throng of protesters who descended on the old Durham County courthouse appeared to have premeditated the destruction of the statue, deploying a ladder so that a female protester could attach a rope to the statue, WNCN reported.
Once the statue was toppled to the ground, activists took turns kicking and spitting on the statue, as well as posing for photo ops with the defaced monument.
“Because this incident occurred on county property, where county law enforcement officials were staffed, no arrested were made by DPD officers,” Durham Police spokesman Wil Glenn wrote in an email statement.
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper took to Twitter to chastise the protesters, tweeting: “The racism and deadly violence in Charlottesville is unacceptable but there is a better way to remove these monuments.”