Charges dropped against men who toppled UNC ‘Silent Sam’ monument
In 2018, Shawn Birchfield-Finn and Raul Jimenez took part in a “Silent Sam” protest where the statue was yanked off of the pedestal.
In 2019, the two were found guilty of injury to real property, personal property, disorderly conduct and riot.
Now, the two have been dismissed of their charges due to “more serious trials” in the backlog amid the pandemic.
The two men convicted of toppling the Confederate monument at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill have been dismissed of their charges.
In 2018, Shawn Birchfield-Finn and Raul Jimenez took part in a “Silent Sam” protest, when the controversial statue was yanked off its pedestal. The two were found guilty of injury to real property, personal property, disorderly conduct, and riot in 2019 by a district court.
Birchfield-Finn and Jimenez faced 24 hours in jail, 18 months probation, and a $500 fine.
Both turned to the Superior Court to appeal the convictions and sought a jury trial. However, District Attorney Jim Woodall said there were “more serious trials” in the backlog due to the coronavirus pandemic, and that they must “prioritize cases.”
According to WRAL, Woodall said around 1,500 nonviolent misdemeanor cases were dismissed recently in North Carolina. Woodall called the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill case “very low-level” compared to other crimes handled in Superior Court.
"With the slowdown in court, we were simply never going to be able to get to those cases to dispose of them," said Woodall. "We had to make the tough decision to dismiss some cases."
Campus Reform reached out to both UNC-Chapel Hill and the DA’s office for comment and will update this article accordingly.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @JezzamineWolk