Durham DA Dropping Felony Charges In Confederate Monument Case

Durham DA Dropping Felony Charges In Confederate Monument Case

4:25pm Jan 11, 2018
In this Aug. 15, 2017, file photo, a damaged Confederate statue lies on a pallet in a warehouse in Durham, N.C. The Durham County district attorney said in an email Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018, that he plans to drop felony charges against eight protesters accused of toppling the statue and try them only on misdemeanor charges. (AP Photo/Allen Breed, File)

Prosecutors are dropping felony charges against demonstrators who pulled down a Confederate statue in Durham last August. 

The eight protesters were initially charged with felony rioting and misdemeanor property damage after toppling a statue of an anonymous Rebel soldier. This happened just days after the deadly riots in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Now the demonstrators will be tried on misdemeanor charges, according to Durham County District Attorney Roger Echols.

Supporters await defendants who toppled a Confederate statue last year, outside of the Durham County, N.C., courthouse. (AP Photo/Jonathan Drew)

The case earned widespread attention because protesters succeeded in bringing down the monument, which sat in front of the old Durham County Courthouse.

North Carolina is home to nearly 100 Confederate monuments and has a law preventing local officials from removing them.

After the hearing to reduce the charges ended, the defendants said they believe that taking down the statue was the right thing to do, not a crime.

They also said seeing the case through to trial will keep the issue in the public eye.

Copyright 2018 WFDD. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. AP contributed to this report.
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