A University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Board of Governors member said in a recent video that the vandalism against a Confederate statue on the campus wasn’t the “student-led, spontaneous uprising” that it was painted to be.
Board member Thom Goolsby recorded and uploaded the video on Thursday, in which he blasted local media for leading Americans to believe that the attack on their Boy Soldier Monument, known as “Silent Sam,” was anything other than a well-orchestrated attack.
The vandalism, which took place on Aug. 20, was announced in advance and allowed by local authorities, according to Goolsby.
“The destruction of ‘Silent Sam’ was not, as you are led to believe, a student-led, spontaneous uprising.” Goolsby said in his video.
“The media told you that and it continues to be out there … and it is not true. As more and more facts come out every day — on the police stand-down, the arrests of the people who committed this crime and riot on our UNC Chapel Hill campus — you see that the police stood down and they watched the work of outside, non-student radicals carrying out what is shown to be a preplanned and sophisticated political agenda,” he said.
According to Goolsby, announcements were put up in advance of the protest all over Orange County and Durham counties.
Goolsby noted and showed pictures of special bandanas that were made for the event with the slogan “Silent Sam must fall” written on them. Some of the vandals even wore those bandanas over their faces during the protest.
In what appeared to be a planned attack on the monument, the protesters covered their faces and brought out the covering for the monument, and the flags and banners of the organization that they represented, according to Goolsby.
The board of governors member pointed out what appeared to be both a communist flag and an antifa banner in the images from the protest.
Goolsby also cited report originally published Wednesday by local WRAL-TV in which the results of a record request from local authorities affirmed that the local police chief instructed his officers to back away from the statue as the protest progressed.
Communications between Chapel Hill Police Chief Chris Blue and his officers made it clear that the chief’s directive to his officers was to overlook anything other than physical violence between people at the time the vandalism was taking place.
“Need to make sure our plainclothes guys are really looking out for counter protesters to arrive,” Blue texted at 7:35 p.m. to officers on the scene, according to WRAL “This thing is all over TV and internet. The longer they take with the statue the more time Folks have to arrive.”
At 9 p.m., Blue texted, “Let’s give them lots of space.” That was followed by pointed instructions to “not engage w Crowd at statue. Stay way out.”
When he told his officers that UNC officers were also backing away from “Silent Sam,” someone texted him, “Copy our folks did as well.”
WRAL reported that Chapel Hill police were inundated with letters and emails from all over the country, asking why they didn’t intervene in the destruction of the monument.
Days later, three people were arrested in connection with the statues’s topping, WRAL reported. There have been numerous arrests at demonstrations at the site since the incident.
According to WRAL’s Wednesday report, Blue declined to comment on the events of Aug. 20, but the morning after the statue fell, he emailed his officers to thank them for their efforts.
“I’m understandably proud of our agency’s history of protecting people. All who were working last night most certainly did that well,” he wrote.
Goolsby was much less impressed with the reaction by law enforcement. He called all of it “absurd.”
“It is absolutely absurd, my friends,” he said on the video. “It will not be stood for. We are a state, a nation, of laws, not lawlessness, not mob rule. ‘Silent Sam’ will be going up within 90 days from the time it was pulled down on Aug. 20 as required by state law. You can count on it.”
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