Durham County DA drops all charges in Confederate monument destruction

DURHAM, NC (WTVD) -- Durham County District Attorney Roger Echols announced Tuesday afternoon that he is dropping the charges against the five remaining people accused of destroying a Confederate statue in downtown Durham last summer.

The announcement follows a long day in District Court Monday in which a judge acquitted one defendant, Raul Mauro Jimenez, and dismissed the charges against two others, Peter Gilbert and Dante Strobino, after an assistant district attorney presented all her evidence.

The judge said the prosecution failed to prove the defendants were guilty of the three misdemeanors: injury to real property, defacing a public building or monument and conspiracy to deface a public building or monument.

"Acts of vandalism, regardless of noble intent, are still a violation of law," he said.

The remaining defendants were Takiyah Thompson, Elena Everett, Jessica Nicole Jude, Qasima Wideman and Joseph Karlik. Their trials were expected to take place April 2.

On Aug. 14, protesters marched to the Confederate statue, climbed a ladder and pulled it to the ground. The statue crumbled and protesters began kicking it. The protest, which attracted national attention, followed the Charlottesville, Va. clash that previous weekend between white supremacists and counterprotesters.
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