Durham County

Readers respond to Durham sheriff’s Maj. Martin’s statement on Confederate statue charges

A group of protesters cheer and take turns kicking a toppled Confederate soldier statue during an 'Emergency Durham Protest' at the old Durham County Courthouse in response to the violent protests Saturday in Charlottesville, on Monday, Aug. 14, 2017, in Durham, NC.
A group of protesters cheer and take turns kicking a toppled Confederate soldier statue during an 'Emergency Durham Protest' at the old Durham County Courthouse in response to the violent protests Saturday in Charlottesville, on Monday, Aug. 14, 2017, in Durham, NC. ctoth@heraldsun.com

You can now comment on our stories on The Herald-Sun and editor Mark Schultz’s Facebook pages, where we post links and more every day.

On Tuesday we posted this comment

“Today’s top story in Durham: Maj. Paul Martin takes on the Durham County Board of Commissioners for publicly questioning felony charges in the Confederate statue case. ‘ he fact they are making a statement, and at the same time they control our raises, our budget, even the sheriff’s raises,’ Martin says. ‘I am concerned about the political interference.’

“What do you make of Maj. Martin’s concerns? Are elected leaders leading or meddling? (Comments may be published in the paper later this week).”

Here is what some of you said:

Will Wilson: When democracy is gerrymandered out of existence, the enacted laws no longer represent the voice of the people. Are people still bound to follow those undemocratic laws? Law enforcement agencies are in a bind, choosing between preserving democracy or enforcing a repressive agenda of an unrepresentative government. The major makes clear where he sits. He would have arrested the Boston Tea Partiers.

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Michael Bacon: Capt. Martin has been a loose cannon for years. This is hardly the first time he’s tossed off some nonsense about how he perceives the world and crime in Durham. He lives in some fantasy world where the Drug People and the Anarchists are having secret meetings plotting to overthrow the city and the sheriff’s deputies are the only ones standing in their way.

Chris Weaver: When public officials advocate [or] support any mob activity they lend credibility to the mob’s behavior and discredit the Rule of Law.

Barry Ragin: A General Assembly composed of legislators from unconstitutionally created districts has no claim to the Rule of Law, and is properly defined as a mob.

Jonathan Jones: The major might want to take a step back and look at why so many well-informed people are questioning the validity of the felony charges, rather than lash out at elected officials with unfounded and unsubstantiated accusations of obstruction.

Josh Feierman: Isn’t law enforcement supposed to work for us, not themselves? These aren’t charges against elected officials; it’s a debate about the correct use of state power.

Kirk Royal: Martin is being absolutely ridiculous. No one is advocating that these folks shouldn’t face SOME sort of repercussions for bringing down the statue. Anyone participating in an act of civil disobedience understands it comes with such a risk. But bringing felony riot charges is overkill at best and grandstanding at worst ... especially considering the fact that sheriff’s deputies nullified any chance of the act meeting the legal definition of a riot when they failed to act, citing a lack of violence.

Bill Smith: Why are the commissioners getting into a pissing match with Martin? He’s a subordinate. No one elected him. There’s an elected sheriff out there somewhere who answers to the voters of Durham County. I’d vastly prefer to see his statement on the subject.

Liz Paley: I think Maj. Martin probably makes some valid points worth considering, but they’re hard to sort out of his alarmist prose. I would take some time to try to do that, but since Durham is one step away from being engulfed in flames, instead I will check behind the bookshelves and under the stairs for anarchists.

Bruce R Arnold: Maj. Martin is suggesting that elected officials should remain silent on matters of public importance? Why not just say that he thinks the county commissioners are subordinate to the Sheriff's Office and have done with it? The way he phrases his objections suggests an underlying sympathy for the Right and antipathy for the Left. If that’s not true, then he should get a speech writer to help him communicate clearly.

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