Seven More Antifa Vandals Arrested In Monday’s Monument Destruction
Eight Statue Vandals Arrested
Durham, NC – A total of eight people have been arrested and charged in connection with Monday’s toppling of the Confederate soldier statue, and Durham County Sheriff Mike Andrews said more arrests were expected.
Three of the suspects, Dante Emmanuel Strobino, age 35, Ngoc Loan Tran, age 24, and Peter Hull Gilbert, age 39, all of Durham were arrested on Wednesday, August 16, according to WRAL. Strobino and Tran were arrested inside a courtroom at the Durham County Courthouse during another Antifa’s first appearance.
That Antifa, Takiyah Fatima Thompson, age 22, of Garner, was arrested on Tuesday, and had her first appearance on Wednesday. She remained quiet during her first appearance, with her attorney beside her. Her next hearing is scheduled for September 12.
Strobino and Tran chanted, “No Trump, no KKK, no fascist USA,” as they were led in handcuffs from the courtroom, according to WNCN.
They 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, and posted bond of $15,000.
Thompson and Tran both claim membership in the Durham branch of the World Workers Party. The group is a Communist party which was formed in 1959. Even after being arrested, Tran was defiant, and showed no remorse.
After her court appearance, she talked to CBS North Carolina, and said, “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. We’re not going to let the police or this jail intimidate us.”
She said, “Clearly, in Durham, we showed Gov. Roy Cooper that, if he didn’t take action, we would. 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.”
Strobino said, “We’re innocent. We demand the charges be dropped. The county and the district attorney should do the right thing and drop the charges.”
The protest began on Monday night in response to the attack in Charlottesville this past weekend. It quickly became out-of-control, with protesters using a ladder to climb the statue, putting a rope around it, and then pulling on the statue until it toppled. They then stomped on it and kicked it.
During a search of Gilbert’s house on Wednesday pursuant to a search warrant, various documents and computers were seized, but a Cadillac with a ladder strapped on top of it was not located. That vehicle was seen in the investigators’ video.
Sheriff Andrews said that his investigators were there during Monday’s incident, and filming it as it happened. He said that they are working on identifying each protester from the video, and that more arrests are expected.
After the incident, questions were raised about why police didn’t do anything to stop the protesters from taking down the statue, and Sheriff Andrews responded that it was in the interest of public safety.
He said, “Don’t mistake restraint for inaction. Had I ordered my deputies to engage a hostile crowd, there would have been serious injuries. Statues can be replaced; lives cannot.” The Sheriff called the incident “a blatant violation of the law”.
Tran vowed to continue the fight.