Orange County

Right-wing news editor accuses UNC lecturer of assault at Silent Sam protest

An editor for a national right-wing news site says UNC-Chapel Hill lecturer Dwayne Dixon should be fired after allegedly assaulting him at the Aug. 20 Silent Sam protest.

“He should not be teaching, and he should not be earning taxpayer dollars,” said Patrick Howley, editor-in-chief for the Big League Politics news site, citing Dixon’s involvement in recent demonstrations.

Howley, a former reporter for the Breitbart News Network, spoke with reporters last week after court hearings in Orange County for Silent Sam protesters. Howley said then he would be pressing charges against Dixon.

On Tuesday night, UNC Police released an arrest report accusing Dixon of simple assault. Simple assault means no weapons were used and an incident did not cause serious injury.

The arrest report says Dixon, 46, of Durham, was served with a criminal summons Thursday afternoon, hours before another clash between supporters and opponents of the Confederate statue that stood on McCorkle Place before protesters pulled it down Aug. 20. Seventeen people have been charged in connection with three protests at the monument site.

The criminal summons, which orders Dixon to appear in court Sept. 27, is different from an arrest warrant. A criminal summons is issued when a person goes to the magistrate’s office and accuses someone of committing a crime against them.

Last year Dixon was charged with bringing a semi-automatic rifle to a KKK counterprotest on Aug. 18, 2017, in downtown Durham. (The KKK never showed up en masse, but counterprotesters said they saw and encountered white supremacists before and during the demonstration.) His case was dismissed in February after a judge ruled the misdemeanor charge violated Dixon’s First and Second Amendments rights to assemble and to bear arms.

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Dixon, an anthropologist listed as a teaching assistant professor in the field of Global Asia in the UNC Department of Asian Studies, declined to talk about Howley’s accusation last week. A message left on Dixon’s phone Tuesday night, after UNC released the arrest report, was not returned.

Howley posted a video on Big League Politics that he said shows Dixon assaulting him. The site, which says it is neither liberal nor conservative, is described as an Alt-Right news and opinion blog, according to Media Bias / Fact Check.

The video shows Howley asking Dixon “why did you chase James Fields [car] with a rifle” during last year’s white nationalist rally in Charlottesville just before police say Fields plowed into a crowd of counterprotesters, killing Heather Heyer.

Dixon was at the Charlottesville rally with fellow members of the Redneck Revolt, a left-wing group that promotes armed community self-defense.

Howley noted a YouTube video that shows Dixon speaking to a group at Harvard University about how he “waved [James Fields] off with his rifle” at the Charlottesville protest in August 2017. Dixon goes on to say that as Fields passed by one last time, “he accelerated and a block away, he killed Heather.”

In Howley’s video from Aug. 20, Dixon approaches him, asking repeatedly why Howley is a coward.

“As I captured on tape, I backed up,” Howley told reporters last week. “I didn’t touch him, and he grabbed the microphone in my hand and struck me repeatedly until his friends realized that he had gone too far and waved him away and calmed him down.”

The video, shot mostly in darkness, does not clearly show what happened when Dixon approached Howley.

Staff writer Virginia Bridges contributed to this story.

Tammy Grubb: 919-829-8926; @TammyGrubb
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