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N.C. man arrested amid effort to move Confederate monuments

June 23, 2020 GMT
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An obelisk memorializing the U.S. Confederacy located on the grounds of the North Carolina Capitol remains partially intact Monday afternoon, June 22, 2020, in Raleigh, N.C. Crews have not yet fully removed the statue. (AP Photo/Bryan Anderson)
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An obelisk memorializing the U.S. Confederacy located on the grounds of the North Carolina Capitol remains partially intact Monday afternoon, June 22, 2020, in Raleigh, N.C. Crews have not yet fully removed the statue. (AP Photo/Bryan Anderson)

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina State Capitol Police on Monday announced the arrest of a man suspected of starting a riot days earlier that led to a pair of damaged Confederate monuments on the old Capitol grounds.

Conrad Paul James, 27, was charged with inciting a riot, first-degree trespass, resisting an officer and injury to personal property, for events covering two nights, authorities said.

He was arrested Sunday night after he allegedly jumped a fence around the Three Presidents monument in Union Square and failed to return to the other side, police Chief Chip Hawley said in a news release.

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Two statues of Confederate soldiers attached to the obelisk were pulled down by demonstrators Friday night, and the state’s governor subsequently ordered the remaining monuments be moved to protect public safety. By midday Saturday, crews had removed the monument to the Women of the Confederacy and the figure of Henry Lawson Wyatt.

James was in the Wake County jail on a $55,000 secured bond, the police statement said. A jail official didn’t have information late Monday about whether James had an attorney.

At Gov. Roy Cooper’s direction, the state on Sunday started to remove a 75-foot (23 meter) obelisk near the old 1840 Capitol building. The soldier standing atop the obelisk was taken down in the morning, but crews couldn’t remove the entire monument.

By Monday afternoon, the foundation remained intact with graffiti written on it demanding the state “take it down.” Messages of “BLM (Black Lives Matter)” and “no justice, no peace” also were inscribed on it.

The toppling and removal of monuments to the Confederacy come across North Carolina and the country amid protests against racism and incidents of police brutality and the deaths of African Americans in encounters with law enforcement.

In eastern North Carolina outside the Pitt County Courthouse in Greenville, crews removed a bronze 27-foot (8-meter) Confederate statue early Monday. It took more than five hours for a crane to lift the statue off its pedestal. A county news release said the pedestal would be taken away later.

The city of Salisbury announced Monday afternoon that its local chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy signed an agreement providing for the relocation of the “Fame” Confederate statue.

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Follow Anderson at https://twitter.com/BryanRAnderson.

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Anderson is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.