Local News

Orange County judge dismisses case against UNC lecturer arrested during 'Silent Sam' rally

Posted November 15, 2018 1:36 p.m. EST
Updated November 15, 2018 7:00 p.m. EST

— An Orange County judge dismissed a simple assault charge against a University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill lecturer citing a flaw in the charging document.

Dwayne Dixon, 46, of Durham, was charged following the Aug. 20 rally that resulted with Silent Sam being toppled by protesters.

Simple assault means no weapons were used and no one was seriously hurt during the incident.

Patrick Howley, editor-in-chief for Big League Politics, a website founded by former employees of Breitbart News, sought a criminal summons for simple assault after he said Dixon punched him in the chest and hit him in the face.

Before entering the courtroom on Thursday, Dixon said the charges are "patently false."

"They have been put on me by a fascist who has targeted me specifically because they think that somehow by undermining me they can undermine a movement. But it’s not about me. It’s about all of us," he said.

"The people who put charges on me today are part of a larger coterie of individuals who have conspired to continually try to distort the actual facts of our shared lives."

Orange County Assistant District Attorney Jeff Nieman said the warrant, which had the error, is drafted by the magistrate.

"While it does happen, it’s an error that we take responsibility for, and I can assure everyone that it’s something we take seriously and will be very careful to avoid in the future," he said.

Neiman said at this time, the district attorney's office has "no intention of bringing this charge back."

"Probably every prosecutor who has worked for any significant amount of time has had an issue like this come up. Sometimes it is found by the court to be significant enough to merit a dismissal, sometimes it’s not," he said.

Dixon works as a teaching assistant professor in the Department of Asian Studies and a lecturer in the school's anthropology department.