Confederate-statue toppling in North Carolina may lead to criminal charges

iStock/Thinkstock(DURHAM, N.C.) -- Protesters who pulled down a Confederate statue in North Carolina in an apparent response to violence over the weekend in neighboring Virginia may be charged with vandalism, authorities said.

A video showing protesters pulling down the statue in downtown Durham, North Carolina, went viral Monday.

Durham County Sheriff Mike Andrews referred to the action Tuesday as "civil disobedience that is no longer civil."

“I am grateful the events that unfolded Monday evening did not result in serious injury or the loss of life, but the planned demonstration should serve as a sobering example of the price we all pay when civil disobedience is no longer civil," Andrews said in a statement.

The sheriff said his office focused on "restraint and public safety" during the protest, but that they would use the video of the event to investigate the incident as an act of vandalism.

"As the sheriff, I am not blind to the offensive conduct of some demonstrators nor will I ignore their criminal conduct," the statement said. "With the help of video captured at the scene, my investigators are working to identify those responsible for the removal and vandalism of the statue."

The statue, which had sat in front of the city's old courthouse since 1924, depicts a Confederate soldier wielding a muzzle rifle and lugging a canteen and bedroll, and is dedicated "in memory of the boys who wore gray."

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