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Charges dropped against 4 who tried to remove Lee plaque
Tuesday, 05 December 2017 00:39

From Staff Reports

The Buncombe County District Attorney’s Office has agreed to dismiss charges against four persons accused of trying to remove a plaque honoring Confederate General Robert E. Lee. 

The plaque, which also commemorates the Dixie Highway (a network of roads between the Midwest and Southeast), is bolted to a stone a few feet west of the Vance Monument in the middle of downtown Asheville.

 Apprehended on Aug. 18 were Hillary Brown, Amy Cantrell, Adrienne Sigmon and Nicole Townsend. Their arrests occurred when officers responded to a call at 7:40 a.m. and discovered them applying a drill and crowbars to the monument. They were surrounded by a group of about 35 other protesters, who appeared to be trying to shield them.

 The charges were dismissed in exchange for 24 hours of community service from each of those arrested. They agreed to serve at Brother Wolf Animal Rescue, and their assignments already had been completed.

 Prosecutor Todd Williams said last October that the maximum sentence could have been 45 days with probation, since none of the arrestees had a criminal record. He said typically restitution is accepted as the penalty in incidents like this where the damage is “minimal.”

On Oct. 25, Williams said his office had agreed to the dismissals in exchange for the community service.Prosecutors routinely dismiss such charges in similar cases if the person arrested pays the property’s owner for the damage, Williams said.

In this case, “No restitution was ever requested and the characterization we received was the damage was, quote, ‘minimal,’” he said.

 The plaque was pried up on one corner, and scratches were visible around one bolt. The city first estimated damages at $500-$1,000, but quotes for the repairs later came in around $4,500-$5,000. The city did not ask for restitution.

 The plaque was installed in 1926 by the United Daughters of the Confederacy.

 The Asheville demonstration occurred in the wake of the Charlottesville, Va., rioting. One person was killed and 19 injured as a car crashed into a group of counterprotesters as white nationalists marched to challenge that city’s decision to remove Confederate monuments.



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