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Three more charged in Durham Confederate statue vandalism

Posted August 16
Updated August 17

— Three more people were arrested Wednesday in the vandalism of a Confederate statue on Monday night in Durham.

Dante Emmanuel Strobino, 35, and Ngoc Loan Tran, 24, both of Durham, were arrested at the Durham County Courthouse, where a woman who climbed the statue was making her first appearance after she was arrested Tuesday. Peter Hull Gilbert, 39, also of Durham, was arrested Wednesday afternoon.

All three are charged with disorderly conduct by injury to a statue and damage to real property, which are both misdemeanors, and participation in a riot with property damage in excess of $1,500 and inciting others to riot where property damage exceeds $1,500, which are both felonies.

Takiyah Fatima Thompson, 22, of Garner, was arrested Tuesday and charged with the same crimes, and authorities said more arrests are expected.

A group of protesters rallied in Durham on Thursday morning in support of the people arrested.

Thompson and Tran identify themselves as being part of the Durham branch of World Workers Party, a group that identifies itself as a group of revolutionary socialists.

"There's revolutions taking place all across the country right now, and those revolutions won't be stopped," Thompson said after her court hearing.

"We are following a historical legacy of standing up to the powers that be, to these racist, fascist systems, and we're on the right side of history," Tran said. "We're not going to let the police or this jail intimidate us."

The protesters tore the statue down Monday after a white nationalist rally on Saturday in Charlottesville, Va., ended with one woman dead and almost two dozen injured. The events in Charlottesville sparked rallies around the country in support of counter-protesters.

Durham County authorities were using video from the Monday night protest to identify the people involved in the vandalism.

A search of Gilbert's house turned up various documents and computers, but police didn't find the Cadillac limousine and a ladder that investigators said was strapped on top of it and then used in the protest to scale the granite podium on which the statue stood, according to a search warrant.

Sheriff Mike Andrews called the protesters' actions "a blatant violation of the law," but he said no one was arrested during the demonstration because officials worried about injuries in the resulting chaos.

"Don't mistake restraint for inaction," he said Tuesday. "Had I ordered my deputies to engage a hostile crowd, there would have been serious injuries. Statues can be replaced; lives cannot."

Calls to remove Confederate statues are gaining more traction across the country, but a 2015 North Carolina law limits the movement of such monuments. Gov. Roy Cooper on Tuesday called for the repeal of the law, saying leaving the monuments up could be dangerous.

"My first responsibility as governor is to protect North Carolinians and keep them safe," Cooper said in an online post. "The likelihood of protesters being injured or worse as they may try to topple any one of the hundreds of monuments in our state concerns me. And the potential for those same white supremacist elements we saw in Charlottesville to swarm the site, weapons in hand, in retaliation is a threat to public safety."

After being released on bond, Tran said she wants to see Cooper take action on removing Confederate monuments.

"Clearly, in Durham, we showed Gov. Roy Cooper that, if he didn't take action, we would," Tran said. "So, to Roy Cooper, we say, 'You're welcome,' because it wasn't his original idea to take down these statues. So, we'll see what actions he takes next, but we want to claim that [pulling down the Durham statue] as a win for the movement. The movement did this."

57 Comments

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  • Robert Swiger Sr. Aug 18, 8:24 p.m.
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    If the DA doesn't prosecute these people to the fullest extent of the law. He should resign

  • Ed Smail Aug 17, 8:30 a.m.
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    These folks are communist and hypocrites. They hate America, but at the same time use all the freedoms America and capitalism affords. In America you are free to break the law, and take the consequences for your actions. Prosecute these criminals .

  • Nathaniel Lincoln Aug 17, 6:20 a.m.
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    Sure Bill, and how are these "Godless Socialist" ideas working for you in the voting booths? How many seats in congress have your Anti Fa party won ? Truth is the Dems are losing and new Generation Y is trending MORE conservative than X. They see how lazy there loser big brothers are in Moms basement on the internet all day and would rather get a non liberal arts degree, get jobs , raise families etc.,You may call it be a Normie. I call it be an American . There is a country called Venenzuala that's playing that song though, you should check it out and see how they fared. You can call it what you will, government control of society = Bad Idea. Read 1984 please

  • Kimmy Baldwin Aug 16, 11:52 p.m.
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    Communist and socialists are two different things :LMGTFY
    In a communist society, the working class owns everything, and everyone works toward the same communal goal. There are no wealthy or poor people, all are equal, and the community distributes what it produces based only on need. Nothing is obtained by working more than what is required. Communism frequently results in low production, mass poverty and limited advancement. Poverty spread so widely in the Soviet Union in the 1980s that its citizens revolted.
    Like communism, socialism’s focus is on equality. They can spend wages as they choose, while the government, not citizens, owns and operates the means for production. Workers receive what they need to produce and survive, but there’s no incentive achieve more.
    Some countries have adopted aspects of socialism. The UK provides basic needs like healthcare to everyone regardless of their time or effort at work. In the U.S., welfare and the public education are form of socialism

  • Janet Ghumri Aug 16, 10:30 p.m.
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    jumping on the bandwagon of the 'injustice of the day', as usual.
    Trying to get their self righteous, smug mugs on the news, and the talk show circuit. Gotta get their 15 minutes of fame somehow. the socialist party doesn't pay enough, I suppose.
    These statues aren't new acquisitions. But, literally overnight, they have spontaneously become the flashpoint for a crusade that is only a thin veil covering the hate that lies beneath. Peaceful protests? seems like these 'educated' people were sick the day that was taught in school.
    Dr. King would be mortified. He never spoke against a statue. smh

  • Amy Whaley Aug 16, 9:58 p.m.
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    I was listening to comedian Jerry Glower earlier and he said "well aren't you educated beyond your intelligence." That is the problem with these activist and those who believe that the statues represent only what they believe and thus must come down.

  • Bill Brauner Aug 16, 9:49 p.m.
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    Did you know that Americans who don't abide by the antiquated Christian morals are often criticized as sinners and "the problem with America?" Did you know that free-thinkers in America are viewed as a problem because they don't fall in line and praise the mistakes of the past?

    I only mention this because the people that defend the statue are the ones disregarding the opinions of a newer generation. They really do, this group of bigots are totally confused and wasting perfectly good oxygen defending something for all of the wrong reasons.

  • Nathaniel Lincoln Aug 16, 9:40 p.m.
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    Did you know "North Koreans who practice any form of religion can face jail, torture, or even execution in the communist country, reveals the International Religious Freedom Report for 2016. I only mention this because well these people that toppled the statue are communists and want to bring that crazy stuff here. They really do , they're totally confused and absolutely nuts.

  • Nathaniel Lincoln Aug 16, 9:31 p.m.
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    So true , Lincoln was the First Republican so Confederates musta been Democrats. They're tearing down their own statues . They're so confused ....

  • Nathaniel Lincoln Aug 16, 9:28 p.m.
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    FACT: In 2010, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton fondly eulogized Sen. Robert Byrd, a former member and recruiter for the Ku Klux Klan. Clinton called Byrd “my friend and mentor” So I demand all Democrats Disavow Robert Byrd and Clinton. Clinton library's must come down :) sound ridiculous ?

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