Charges Related To Durham Confederate Statue Toppling Dropped For Three

Nov 9, 2017

Durham prosecutors dropped all charges against three people accused of toppling a Confederate monument in Durham.

Charges against Alexander Caldwell, Taylor Cook, and Myles Spigner were dropped, according to their defense attorney Scott Holmes.

"We believe they were dismissed because they were absolutely innocent, and represent an example of overzealous prosecution by the Durham Sheriff," Holmes wrote in an email to WUNC.

Nine others remain charged with felony riot, defacing a public monument, and damage to personal property. Holmes represents them as well. In the past, Holmes has represented individuals arrested in connection to various Moral Monday protests.

"We believe they were dismissed because they were absolutely innocent, and represent an example of overzealous prosecution by the Durham Sheriff" defense attorney Scott Holmes.

Following violence in Charlottesville in August, protesters pulled down Confederate-era monuments across the South, including in Durham. These protests have sparked fierce debates about the place these monuments should have in today's culture.

The N.C. Historical Commission – a usually quiet committee tucked away in the corner of state government – was in the spotlight in late September when it heard a petition to remove Confederate monuments from the capital grounds in downtown Raleigh. Those monuments will remain for now, but the commission will circle back with a final decision in the spring.

UNC students protested around the Silent Sam statue in Chapel Hill, though it remains standing.