DURHAM, N.C. – Deputies arrested a North Carolina college student for her alleged role in tearing down a Confederate monument during a protest Monday outside Durham County’s former courthouse, WTVD reports.
Takiyah Thompson, 22, is charged with two felony counts – participation in a riot with property damage in excess of $1,500 and inciting others to riot where there is property damage in excess of $1,500 – as well as disorderly conduct by injury to a statue and damage to real property, both misdemeanors.
Thompson was arrested after speaking at a news conference Tuesday, telling the crowd she used a ladder to scale the monument and tie the rope in place to help bring down a statue that “glorifies the conditions that oppressed people live in.”
“I chose to do that because I’m tired of living in fear, I’m tired of white supremacy keeping its foot on my neck and the necks of people who look like me,” Thompson said.
Durham County Sheriff Mike Andrews said in a statement that the investigation is ongoing, “As the Sheriff, I am not blind to the offensive conduct of some demonstrators nor will I ignore their criminal conduct. With the help of video captured at the scene, my investigators are working to identify those responsible for the removal and vandalism of the statue.”
A group of anti-white supremacy protesters tore down the Confederate Soldiers Monument, built in 1924, after gathering in response to the recent rally in Charlottesville.
Authorities told WRAL they expect more protesters will face felony charges in the incident.
As pressure mounts around the country demanding the removal of monuments lionizing the Confederacy, President Donald Trump said Tuesday that the removal of such monuments is "changing history."
"I wonder, is it George Washington next week?" Trump asked.
Trump, in an agitated back-and-forth with reporters in Trump Tower, defended members of the "Unite the Right" protest last weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia, where a white supremacist has been charged with murder for ramming a car into a crowd of counter-protesters.
CNN contributed to this report.