Two Silent Sam protesters resolve assault charges stemming from UNC rally

Orange County officials resolved two cases Thursday against people charged with simple assault during a Silent Sam Confederate statue protest in August on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus.

John Quick, 35, of Carrboro, accepted a deferred prosecution agreement in Orange County District Court for his misdemeanor simple assault charge. The agreement requires him to complete 24 hours of community service and stay out of trouble for six months.

If Quick meets the conditions, his charge will be dropped at a March hearing, his attorney, Tom Cadwallader, said.

A simple assault charge against Dannielle Shochet, 47, of Raleigh, was dismissed, Cadwallader said.

Both men were charged at an Aug. 25 protest held in opposition to a planned Confederate rally, five days after the Aug. 20 toppling of the Silent Sam statue.

Protesters yell at supporters of Silent Sam as they leave McCorkle Place on the campus of UNC in Chapel Hill, N.C., Saturday, August 25, 2018. The rally included those for and against the removal of the controversial Confederate statue earlier this week. Several arrests were made. Chuck Liddy cliddy@newsobserver.com

The UNC Board of Governors has given campus officials until Nov. 15 to offer solutions to the Silent Sam issue.

Members of Defend UNC were in court Thursday morning to support six defendants facing charges, including Shochet and Quick. The other defendants will return to District Court on Oct. 9:

Jody Anderson, 21, who is charged with assault on a government official

Jaya Athavale, 18, who is charged with resisting a public officer and failure to disperse

Joseph Karlik, 27, who is charged with resisting a public officer and failure to disperse

Christopher Wells, 30, who is charged with resisting a public officer and failure to disperse

Karlik was one of eight people charged in the toppling of a Confederate statue in downtown Durham in August 2017. Durham County District Attorney Roger Echols dismissed the charges against him and four others in February after a judge acquitted one suspect and dismissed charges against two others.

At least 26 people have now been charged in connection with Silent Sam protests on the UNC campus on Aug. 20, 25, 30 and Sept 8.

The group moved Thursday afternoon from the courthouse to UNC’s campus for a Speakout Against Police Brutality at the South Building, where they gave a list of student demands to the UNC administration. Supporters also were encouraged to call District Attorney Jim Woodall’s office Thursday and demand that he drop all charges against the protesters.

The list was given to Chancellor Carol Folt who was outside South Building before the event, a UNC spokeswoman said.

Student demands included: stopping criminal prosecution of the protesters; stopping “police brutality and excessive force,” including a ban on police carrying guns, chemical weapons and tasers to campus protests; halting outside police agencies from coming to the UNC campus; and stopping UNC police from “harassing and spying on anti-racist protesters” and coordinating with groups such as the pro-Silent Sam groups ACTBAC and Oath Keepers, which the protesters called “white supremacists and racists.”

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Michelle Brown recites a poem by Assata Shakur with the group that gathered for a rally outside the South Building on Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018, in Chapel Hill, NC. in response to the police violence experienced at recent Silent Sam protests. Casey Toth ctoth@newsobserver.com

About 80 people attended the speakout, which ended with the group holding hands in a circle.

Lindsay Ayling, a graduate student in history, said she had been stalked and threatened by members of neo-Confederate groups.

She asked why UNC Police had given safe escort and free parking to ACTBAC, or Alamance County Taking Back Alamance County, at an Aug. 30 event around Silent Sam. At that event, police used pepper spray to disperse the crowd and arrested protesters.

“I think that the police believe that if they beat us enough and arrest us enough, eventually we’ll stop resisting, but they’re wrong,” Ayling said.

Michael Conroy, a graduate student in statistics, said while attending an “anti-Nazi potluck” on Sept. 8, he was assaulted by a police officer while standing next to a line of tables containing food items. He said the officer ran toward him and threw him into one of the tables, knocking it over.

“The handling of this past year’s events by UNC police and the UNC administration has made me feel less safe on my campus,” Conroy said, adding, “I hope that Chancellor Folt takes our demands seriously, especially before sending out one more insulting email claiming how safety is a top priority.”

The speakout and call-in also were sponsored by UNC Students Against Police Brutality, UNC students of the Silent Sam Sit-In, Campus Y and the Workers’ Union at UNC.

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