3 charged in toppling of Confederate statue ‘Silent Sam’

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Police stand guard after the confederate statue known as Silent Sam was toppled by protesters on campus at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, N.C., Monday, Aug. 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

Three people have been charged in connection with the toppling of the Confederate monument on UNC’ campus known as Silent Sam.

Orange County District Attorney Jim Woodall confirmed three people face charges of misdemeanor riot and misdemeanor defacing of a public monument.

UPDATE:  Suspects identified in arrests from UNC ‘Silent Sam’ toppling and protests

“I met with investigators yesterday and they felt like misdemeanor charges were the appropriate way to go and I agreed with them,” Woodall said

Woodall said those facing the charges are not UNC students.

The SBI and the UNC Department of Public Safety are investigating the toppling.

Woodall said earlier in the week he anticipates the investigation will take several days.

“There are many kinds of evidence,” Woodall said Friday. “There’s a lot of video evidence — actually a tremendous amount of hours. That’s why it’s going to take the investigators some time to go through it all out.”

The charges come as a member of the UNC Board of Governors said the monument will be reinstalled on the Chapel Hill campus within 90 days.

UPDATE:  Suspects identified in arrests from UNC ‘Silent Sam’ toppling and protests

According to UNC’s website, the North Carolina division of the United Daughters of the Confederacy commissioned the memorial in 1913 to honor the 321 UNC alumni who died fighting for the Confederacy in the Civil War.

The UNC website notes that Silent Sam is a statue of a soldier carrying a rifle, but he has no cartridge box with ammunition and is thus silent.

UNC officials urged students not to attend a possible rally Saturday. The school said in a tweet that it is “working closely with town officials and law enforcement to ensure the safety of our communities.”

It continued: “We respect and believe in the First Amendment, the Campus Free Speech Act and the rights of peaceful protestors.”

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