Confederate monument at old Durham courthouse vandalized

DURHAM (WTVD) -- Surveillance video could help Durham investigators identify who damaged a Confederate memorial located outside the old Durham County courthouse.

"We are working to gather and analyze any surveillance footage in the area," said Brian Jones, a spokesperson for the Durham County Sheriff's Office.

The county government's surveillance cameras are not in operation, but footage from nearby buildings may help the case.

It's the third incident in recent days involving Confederate symbols. Vandals tagged a memorial at Maple Cemetery in Durham last week. Tuesday, clean-up crews used high powered sprayers to remove the words "Black Lives Matter" and "KKK" from the Silent Sam monument on the UNC campus.

"They're representing hate when they do that. To me, that's hate," said Anjie Hare, a chaperone visiting the UNC campus with a group of children from Topsail, N.C. "I don't think the Confederate flag represents racism."

Hare said she had to explain the "KKK" spray-painted in stone to her curious students.

"I explain to them what happened and that there are people like that. My kids aren't like that. They don't see color," Hare said. "We should all have the mind of a child."

The removal of the spray paint on the Silent Sam monument also caught the attention of UNC student leader Merrick Osborne.

"I feel like a lot of us wouldn't necessarily spray paint the statue itself, but there's definitely a discomfort with showcasing this type of history in this type of way," explained Osborne. "More than anything, it's important for us to start asking why are these things happening."

Osborne says there are campus forums on race relations and other issues planned for this fall.

In a statement to ABC11, UNC Vice Chancellor of Communications and Public Affairs Rick White said:

"We understand that the issue of race and place is both emotional and, for many, painful. Carolina is working hard to ensure we have a thoughtful, respectful and inclusive dialogue on the issue. The extensive discussions with the Carolina community this past year by the Board of Trustees and University leadership, and the work we will be doing to contextualize the history of our campus is a big part of advancing those conversations. We welcome all points of view, but damaging or defacing statues is not the way to go about it."

Anyone with information on the vandalism at the Confederate memorial in Durham is asked to call the Durham County Sheriff's Office Investigations Division at (919) 560-0880.

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