Felony charges dropped against 7 accused of tearing down Durham Confederate statue

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — On Tuesday morning, all felony charges were dropped against seven protesters charged with tearing down a Confederate monument in downtown Durham on Aug. 14. and a judge granted a motion to continue their cases.

Charges had already been dropped against three of the 12 people arrested. Aaron Caldwell, Myles Spigner and Taylor Cook had charges dropped against them last week, Durham County’s District Attorney Roger Echols told CBS North Carolina.

Echols said that “we filed voluntary dismissals for three of the individuals charged” and that there “are related cases pending against 10 others.” Echols said there was no evidence that Caldwell, Spigner and Cook “physically participated in taking the statue down.”

The arrests and charges all stem from the incident that occurred around 7:10 p.m. on Aug. 14 when a woman using a ladder climbed the statue of a Confederate soldier outside the old Durham County courthouse and attached a rope around the statue.

Moments later, the crowd pulled on the rope and the statue fell. One man quickly ran up and spat on the statue and several others began kicking it.

In 1924, the Confederate statue was dedicated to Durham.

Engraved on the front of the monument is “The Confederate States of America.”

Above it, was the statue representing a soldier who fought in the civil war.

“Today we got a small taste of justice,” protester Jose Ramos said after the statue was down.

Attorney Scott Holmes, representing the seven people in court today for pulling down the Confederate monument, asked for all cases to be continued to Dec. 5. The judge granted a motion to continue the cases to that date.

The three remaining people charged who didn’t appear in court today also have Dec. 5 court dates.

The Defend Durham group is holding a press conference Tuesday to demand that all charges be dropped. The group also plans to announce an independent investigation into the State of North Carolina for obstruction of justice.