Chapel Hill police chief told officers to 'stay way out' during Silent Sam toppling

CHAPEL HILL, NC (WTVD) -- Text messages and emails obtained by ABC11 shed light into the police response at the Silent Sam protest last Monday when the Confederate statue was pulled down.

The documents included more than 400 pages of texts and emails to and from Chapel Hill Police Chief Chris Blue. They were made available through a public records request.

One text from Chief Blue said, "Yes but do not engage w Crowd at statue. Stay way out."

Another said, "Let's give them lots of space."

Messages indicated he was monitoring the protest. One message said, "This thing is all over tv and internet."

In an email to police Tuesday, one day after the protest, Chief Blue acknowledged he's received criticism but wrote, "..I'm understandably proud of our agency's history of protecting people."

ABC11 attempted to get a response to the text messages and emails.

In an email from a Chapel Hill spokesperson, ABC11 was told Chief Blue could not talk to the media Thursday because he's planning for the anticipated demonstrations. The email said .. "his priority is community safety."

ABC11 was also told by a UNC-Chapel Hill spokesperson that UNC Police didn't have someone available Thursday to talk on camera.

In a statement last week, the UNC administration said that at no point did they direct officers to allow the protesters to topple the monument.

While talking to the media on the phone last week, UNC Chancellor Carol Folt would not answer ABC11's question about whether police were given a "stand down" order; instead, she said police are well-trained and care deeply for students.
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