On August 14, in Durham NC, something strange happened that does not make sense to me.
A protester climbed up on the statue of a Confederate soldier, tied a rope around his neck, gave a signal, and her fellow activists pulled until the statue came crashing down. Then several others converged on the statue, viciously, exuberantly, kicking it again and again.
This was done under the watchful eyes of law enforcement — who were filming every moment of the incident. As Fox News reported, “At no time did officers with the Durham Police Department or deputies with the Durham County Sheriff’s Office intervene… according to multiple media reports.”
At first, I thought, how nice. The police are allowing the crowd to let off steam. After what happened in Charlottesville, the participants needed a catharsis, and this one seemed harmless enough, especially since such statues will probably be brought down anyway. So the police seemed to be indulging them.
And yesterday morning, Durham County Sheriff Mike Andrews seemed to confirm this impression. He said, “Collectively, we decided that restraint and public safety would be our priority.”
When police are said to have used restraint, it suggests they restrained themselves from using excessive force. But in this case, it seems the police weren’t using any force at all.