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UNC board member: Non-student radicals toppled Confederate statue as police ordered to stand down

Before the fall: Demonstrators rally for the removal of a Confederate statue, coined Silent Sam, on the campus of the University of Chapel Hill on August 22, 2017 in Chapel Hill North Carolina. (Photo by Sara D. Davis/Getty Images)

A sophisticated political agenda orchestrated by non-student radicals led to the takedown of the Silent Sam confederate statue at the University of North Carolina's  Chapel Hill campus, a Board of Governors member said in a video on his YouTube channel.

During the protest, Chapel Hill police and campus police were ordered to stand down as protesters toppled the historic monument, WRAL-TV reported.

What happened?

“The destruction of Silent Sam was not as you are led to believe, a student-led, spontaneous uprising,” Thom Goolsby, a Board of Governors member, said in a video he posted Thursday to his YouTube account.

“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 pre-planned and sophisticated political agenda," he explained.

Announcements for the protest were “put out all over Orange County and Durham County,” Goolsby said.

Protesters organized at Peace and Justice Plaza and then moved onto the campus, Goolsby said. Some of them carried red flags, announcing their support of the communist agenda.

Organizers wore bandannas printed with the words "Silent Sam must fall," videos of the protest show. The protesters covered their faces with the bandannas and then arrived on the camps to “commit mayhem and property destruction,” Goolsby said.

What about the police stand-down?

WRAL obtained approximately 400 pages of emails and texts from Police Chief Chris Blue indicating he told officers to stand aside as protesters ripped down the statue. The communications happened “before, during and after” the protest, the TV station reported.

Text messages show that Blue was closely monitoring what was unfolding at McCorkle Place on the campus.

WRAL reported:

When someone lets him know officers on bicycles are already doing that, he replies, "Ok. Monitor the masked folks. Keep our folks off McCorkle place for now."

"Need to make sure our plainclothes guys are really looking out for counter protesters to arrive," Blue texts at 7:35 p.m. "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 texts, "Let's give them lots of space." That was followed by, "Yes but do not engage w Crowd at statue. Stay way out."

When he tells his officers that UNC officers also are backing away from "Silent Sam," someone texts him, "Copy our folks did as well."

Mayor Pam Hemminger told the Charlotte Observer the first priority of the police is to protect people and she is thankful no one was hurt.

“I don’t know; that’s not my purview,” Hemminger said. “I do know that the No. 1 goal is to protect people. That’s the truth of it.”

The university, not the town, calls the shots on campus, she added.

“There is a dividing line between the jurisdictions,” she said. “They are in charge. They give the orders and ask for help. We play a supportive role. If it’s on our jurisdiction we call the shots.”

Goolsby called all of it “absurd.”

“It is absolutely absurd, my friends,” he said. “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.”

Will the statue be back?

Multiple news reports have also indicated the statue will be re-erected in another, more secure location at the campus.

Those against Confederate statutes claim the monuments are painful and racist reminders of the legacy of slavery. Others maintain that the statues represent our nation’s history and should be preserved. More than 30 cities across the nation have removed or relocated the statues after they were deemed to be offensive.

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