7 people arrested during rally on UNC's campus near the Silent Sam monument

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Monday, August 27, 2018

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WTVD) -- Seven people were arrested Saturday during a demonstration near the 'Silent Sam' monument at UNC's Chapel Hill campus.

The rally comes just five days after protesters tore down 'Silent Sam,' which had stood for 105 years.

Both 'Silent Sam' supporters and counter-protesters gathered in an often-contentious interaction.

Our cameras captured a man holding a Confederate battle flag and flowers punch a counter-protester in the face after the counter-protester blocked him from moving toward the monument's base and grabbed his flowers. The incident happened just feet away from a UNC police officer, and authorities quickly detained the man. He was wearing a shirt with the logo from the group ACTBAC NC based out of Alamance County.

The Southern Poverty Law Center classifies ACTBAC NC as a "neo-Confederate hate group."

Earlier in the day, a counter-protester was detained after grabbing a Confederate flag. Later, another Confederate flag was grabbed and stomped-on by a counter-protester. The counter-protester who grabbed the Confederate battle flag in that incident was also detained.

Cops were on alert on UNC campus as a few protesters gathered near Silent Sam early Saturday morning

Counter-protesters attempted to block cameras from showing Confederate emblems and flags throughout the rally, at one point even interrupting an interview to do so. In one case, a woman who identified herself as a UNC student but would not reveal her name, insisted on handing journalists a pamphlet on avoiding 'interviewing white nationalists.' When asked to comment further, she repeated her goal of handing out the pamphlet.

"These people got it wrong. They're pushing their agenda, we're pushing the truth," said one 'Silent Sam' supporter, who dressed in a Confederate uniform.

Counter-protesters outnumbered 'Silent Sam' supporters during the rally, which UNC officials warned people against attending on Friday.

"We don't stand for things like this. There's no reason why it's still there. It's just unnecessary, it doesn't make any sense at all," said one UNC student about 'Silent Sam,' and she added that she hoped people would remain peaceful during the demonstrations.

Saturday night, UNC released the names and charges of those arrested Saturday. None of the individuals is affiliated with the university, the school said.

Below are the names of the people arrested and their charges:

  • Simple assault: Danielle Shochet and Barry Brown
  • Assault: John Quick
  • Resisting arrest: Kristin Emory
  • Injury/Damage to property: Alexander Joustra and Lillian Laura Price
  • Resisting arrest and causing/inciting a public disturbance: Thomas Bruefach
Tensions rise at rally near Silent Sam on UNC campus (Warning: possible profanity)

Once the crowds dissipated, Chancellor Carol Felt held a phone teleconference to address the demonstration.

"We believe in the First Amendment, and the rights of people to protest peacefully. However there were very tense moments for the potential of injuries and escalation at this event," Folt said.

She thanked various law enforcement agencies for their assistance, noting university leaders were grateful no serious injuries were reported during the demonstration.

Since being torn down, the focus has shifted to the future of 'Silent Sam.' State law mandates that it be put back up within 90 days. When asked about the university's plans moving forward, Folt said she would not be rushed into making a decision before sharing her personal preference.

"I said from the start that I think it's in the interest of public safety, I would find a better location, a safe, secure location for the monument that would allow us to talk about it, learn from it, and deal with it in a respectful and appropriate way," Folt said.

University leaders are planning for the possibility of more demonstrations moving forward.

In a release Saturday night, UNC officials also released the names of the three people charged in connection to tearing down 'Silent Sam'.

  • Jonathan Fitzgerald Fuller
  • Lauren Aucoin
  • Raul Arce a.k.a. Raul Mauro Jimenez

Jimenez was previously charged for his role in the toppling of a Confederate statue in Durham. He was found not guilty in connection with that incident.

ABC11 interviewed Jimenez Thursday night during a committee hearing in Durham focused on Confederate statues and monuments. When reached by phone Saturday evening, Jimenez said he had no comment on this incident.

By about 4:30 p.m. Saturday, the rally had dwindled to about two dozen people, most of them waving flags and signs peacefully. Police remained around McCorkle Place on-campus through the evening, though crowds had mostly cleared by 6 p.m.

RELATED: Protesters knock down Silent Sam statue, which had stood on UNC campus since 1913

RELATED: UNC-Chapel Hill police charge 3 people in connection with the Silent Sam toppling