Things seemed to have died down quite a bit since the Charlottesville protests. Some states are still fighting the battle over Confederate statues and monuments, as I suspect they will for a long time, but the loud protests are calmed down for the most part.
In the meantime, one story seems to have escaped from the public eye until now. Do you remember the statue being torn down in Durham, NC? The woman who is caught on video vandalizing state property is being charged with disorderly conduct (Class 2 misdemeanor), damage to real property (Class 1 misdemeanor), participation in a riot with property damage in excess of $1,500 (Class H felony), and inciting a riot where there is property damage in excess of $1,500 (Class F felony). That woman is Takiyah Thompson, and she is a 22-year-old college student at North Carolina Central University in Durham.
As you can see in the video, Ms. Thompson clearly climbs a ladder, to much applause from the rest of the crowd who for the most part look to be under 30, and hangs a noose around the neck of the statue of a Confederate soldier. After which, she instructs other rioters to pull down the statue, which has stood at the front of the Durham County courthouse since 1924, and Thompson and others proceed to spit on, kick, and further vandalize the statue.
This is a despicable crime to anyone looking inward at the incident, but apparently her professors seem to think that it was all in the name of social justice. One of her professors at North Carolina Central, Aoki Laflare, wrote on social media “In this moment of Charlottesville, they are going to try and make an example of her, THE Black woman. She’s brave, but she is afraid.” The same professor went on to solicit money for her to help fund a legal defense for herself and others charged.
But the biggest problem in this picture is Scott Holmes, professor of law at North Carolina Central Law School. On his personal Facebook page, Holmes has backed Takiyah Thompson and is now looking to represent Thompson for free, saying “I’ve never asked for legal fees for defending protesters.” Though Holmes went on to solicit money to go toward travel, bonds, and other attorneys, we need to get one thing straight.
Scott Holmes is a professor at a state-funded, federally regulated university. Therefore, his salary is paid for by the North Carolinian and the American taxpayer. If this were on his own dime and he were going out of his way to assist in the payment for such legal representation, then I would not care. However, he is doing so on the taxpayer’s dime.
While we’re on the topic, since when did it become okay for the state employee to actively work against the state in a manner that is costing the state of North Carolina money every day they spend in court? That’s like an employee of Walmart stealing from the store and then returning the stolen items after they have gotten their use out of it. No one wins in this case.
In addition, Holmes has been personally advocating riots on the same Facebook page, reminding people to come out to the courthouse and “walk, march, sing, chant, yell, curse, (peacefully),” but we all know what he is saying. I’ve still yet to find someone yelling curse words to me on a public sidewalk and thought to myself, ‘at least they’re doing it peacefully.’ Give me a break.
Talk about peaceful protests, let’s talk. Martin Luther King Jr. led peaceful protests. Marches through city streets where light poles weren’t knocked down, stores weren’t robbed and set on fire, historical statues weren’t destroyed, and onlookers didn’t fear for their lives. What we have now are riots.
What Scott Holmes is advocating for is not peaceful protests. He has shown through fighting for Takiyah Thompson that he does not want protests to be peaceful, he wants disruption in city streets. And judging by his choice of words, I would say this isn’t the first time he has represented a destructive protestor.
Instead of sitting idly by as this ridiculous lawsuit gets funded by us, the hardworking taxpayers, I propose that we demand Scott Holmes provides time sheets showing vacation time for the dates he is in court for these appearances, under the Public Records Act of North Carolina. We simply cannot let our money go to waste as Takiyah Thompson gets off free for vandalizing state property.