Durham County

Fourth person arrested after toppling of Durham County Confederate monument

The Durham County Sheriff's Office arrested a fourth person in the destruction of a Confederate statue during a demonstration Monday night.

Deputies arrested Peter Gull Gilbert, 36, of Durham, Wednesday afternoon.

Deputies also arrested Dante Emmanuel Strobino, 35, and Ngoc Loan Tran, 24, both of Durham, Wednesday morning. Tran and Strobino were attending a court hearing for Takiyah Fatima Thompson, 22, who was arrested on the same charges Tuesday afternoon.

All four have been released on unsecured $10,000 bonds, which means they didn’t have to put money up to be released. The Durham Solidarity Center is raising money to pay for potential bail and other related fees for activists.

Their charges are:

▪ Disorderly conduct by injury to a statue (Class II misdemeanor).

▪ Damage to real property (statue as a fixture (Class I misdemeanor).

▪ 14-288.2(c) Participation in a riot with property damage in excess of $1,500 (Class H felony).

▪ 14-288.2(e) inciting others to riot where there is property damage in excess of $1,500 (Class F felony).

Tran was at the court hearing when a deputy asked Tran to help identify two people, Tran said. When Tran refused, an officer asked Tran to step out and Tran was arrested, Tran said. A officer took Tran’s and Strobino’s cell phones.

After being released from jail Tran said the charges were unnecessary and being used to intimidate people.

“Monday night hundreds of people gathered in front of the statue, and it was the will of everyone there that that statue come down knowing that in the state of North Carolina there is no legal route for removing Confederate statues,” Tran said. “I think what the charges do reflect is that we live in a white supremacist system that is much more eager to hang onto the vestiges of its racist history and propel it into current day.”

The Sheriff’s Office obtained a warrant to search Gilbert’s address and a 1994 Cadillac limousine. The search warrant named a woman who has not been charged but did not name Gilbert.

The woman was seen driving the limousine with a ladder strapped to the top, the search warrant states. The limousine pulled up on the sidewalk near the old Durham County courthouse where the demonstration was taking place. The ladder was then placed on the Confederate soldier statue, the warrant says. Someone else climbed it and placed a yellow strap around the soldier’s neck and a group pulled it down. Thompson has said that she climbed the ladder.

The warrants says deputies were searching for documents showing ownership of the limousine, ladders, the limousine, electronic devices and documentation “as to the future destruction of public property and unlawful assembly.”

They seized notebooks and notepads, a computer, various papers, six thumb drives, one memory stick, an iPhone and a laptop.

Virginia Bridges: 919-829-8924, @virginiabridges

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