3 Accused Durham Statue Vandals Have Charges Dropped

7 others have charges remain in place

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Crowd Cheering - Durham Monument - Durham Statue

Three of the accused thirteen Durham statue vandals have had their charges dropped.

Local media outlet ABC 11 reported that the “two felony and three misdemeanor charges against Zan Caldwell, Taylor Cook, and Myles Spignor have been dismissed by the prosecutor.”

Durham County’s District Attorney Roger Echols made the announcement on November 9th that his office had, “filed voluntary dismissals for three of the individuals charged.”

Live video and photos of the toppling of the statue went viral on social media.  District Attorney Echols indicated there was no evidence that these three people had actually physically participated in the destruction of the statue.

Aaron Caldwell - Durham Statue
Aaron Caldwell mug shot via Durham Sheriff Dept.

Law enforcement records indicate Zan Caldwell’s legal name is Aaron Alexander Caldwell. He has a prior arrest record related to protesting.

Taylor Cook does not appear to have any priors.

Court records indicate Myles Spigner was stopped by police in 2013 for an open container violation.

Taylor Cook - Durham Statue
Taylor Cook mug shot via Durham Sheriff Dept.

In 2016, he was stopped again for what appears to be a passenger failing to wear a rear seat belt that was required to.  No mug shot was available for Spigner.

Details of the charges dropped:
14.288.2 – Riot; Inciting to Riot to Cause Property Damage (Felony)
14.160 – Injury to Personal Property Less Than $200 (Misdemeanor)
14-127 – -Injury to Real Property (Misdemeanor)
14-132 (a) -Deface or Injure Public Monument (Misdemeanor)

The remaining arrestees are due in court next Tuesday.

Durham Statue ‘Supporters’

ABC 11’s coverage also had a statement from the ‘supporters’ of those arrested. The statement actually came via one of those arrested, Dante Strobino, at the behest of “Defend Durham”:

“While this is a small step forward in this particular iteration of the fight against white supremacy, we must remember that we cannot trust the system to change that which it upholds,” supporters said in a news release. “This was merely representative of a lack of evidence, not an acquiescence of power and certainly not an admission of guilt. We must continue to fight until the remaining 12 walk free until no Confederate statues remain until all institutions of white supremacy have been abolished. We say ‘Topple Racism – from Durham to the White House!'”

This statement is in line with the movement Defend Durham tried to launch in early September that called for social justice activists across the country to “do it like Durham” and destroy public property by pulling down statues.

[ Read: Durham Communists Promote Statue Toppling Nationwide ]

Strobinos statement included notification of the organization of a “People’s Tribunal Against White Supremacy.”

We invite the press to join us at 10:00am on Tuesday, November 14 at the Durham County courthouse as several of our co-defendents stand trial and we announce the organizing of a People’s Tribunal Against White Supremacy. We will be releasing a fuller press statement in days to come regarding this Tribunal and our Commission of Inquiry along with charges against various government actors of white supremacy.”

There were upwards of a total 8 arrests made in relation to the destruction of the Durham statue.

Later during the same week that the Durham statue was torn down by communists, anarchists and members of Black Lives Matter, a hoax on social media nearly shut down the city of Durham.

The hoax was sparked with a tweet by the attorney representing the statue vandals and that tweet was immediately retweeted by Durham Councilwoman, Jillian Johnson. Johnson has close ties to multiple social justice groups who took part in the protests.

The city of Durham decided after that turn of events, likely due to Johnson’s involvement, to change their social media policies.

This article has been updated to correct the number of arrests.
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