Durham, NC – The struggle against white supremacy and state repression scored a major victory on Thursday, January 11, in Durham. All felony charges against eight anti-racist activists in connection with the Confederate monument toppling on August 14, 2017 were dropped at their latest court appearance. A trial date was set for February 19.
“This is an incredible victory that is a testament to the will of the people to struggle for freedom and liberation, the same will we saw expressed in Durham on August 14 and again on August 18 when thousands filled the streets to shut down the Klan,” said Takiyah Thompson. “Since these outrageous charges were filed against us, thousands upon thousands of people from across the country have called the DA and other city officials demanding the charges be dropped. Dozens of solidarity actions have been held in numerous cities, and the Durham community has not only mobilized to every court appearance, but has continued to tirelessly struggle to topple this racist, white supremacist system.”
The eight now face three misdemeanor charges: defacing a public building or monument, conspiracy to deface a public building or monument, and injury to real property.
While acknowledging the victory of having the felony charges dropped, the anti-racist arrestees continue to affirm their right to take a stand against white supremacy. In relation to the new conspiracy charges Raul Jimenez, one of the arrestees, said, “It is clear that the courts, the police, and other government institutions conspire against the lives of poor people, people of color, queer people, and so many more every single day. The courts consider ‘injury’ to property of utmost importance; we say the ongoing injury of people’s lives is what really matters. It should be these institutions that are on trial, not us — and we plan to do exactly that at the People’s Tribunal on Saturday.”
The People’s Tribunal will convene on Saturday, January 13, from 2 to 5pm at CityWell Church (2317 Chapel Hill Road, Durham). The church has been offering sanctuary to Samuel Oliver-Bruno, a Mexican immigrant who is fighting a deportation order, since December.
The Tribunal will charge city, state, and national official with the following crimes against the people: 1) Conspiracy and Obstruction of Justice to protect and uphold white supremacy; 2) Collusion with special interests to profit off the misery of communities of color as well as poor and working-class people; 3) Negligent and Serial Homicide: In public jails and detention centers; 4) Real Crimes Against the People: Racism, homelessness, choosing profit over people.