ASHEVILLE, N.C. (WSPA) – Asheville Police arrested four people Friday morning after officials said the group vandalized a statue at the Vance Monument.
Police say the four protesters were trying to vandalize a smaller statue at the scene when officers arrived at 7:40 a.m. Friday.
Nicole Townsend, 27, Amy Cantrell, 45, Hillary Brown, 30, and Adrienne Sigmon, 34, all from Asheville are charged with damage to real property by Asheville Police.
The Vance Monument is in Pack Square in Asheville. It memorializes Zebulon Baird Vance who was born in Weaverville in 1830.
Vance was elected and served as Governor of North Carolina in 1862 during the Civil War.
Facebook users: Click here to view mugshots and images from the scene
In video from the scene Friday morning, a group of women appeared to try to remove part of a smaller statue that is dedicated to Robert E. Lee.
Anyone with information about what happened is asked to call Asheville Police Department at (828) 252-1110 or CrimeStoppers at (828) 255-5050.
All four people have since been released.
The Asheville Mayor released a statement asking activists to “exercise their rights peacefully, with respect for the law and with respect for others.”
“Since Charlottesville, the people of Asheville have overwhelmingly expressed that they oppose Neo-Nazi and White Supremacist agendas,” the Mayor noted. “Since Charlottesville, more people have become galvanized to work together to dismantle institutional racism and promote equity. It’s not just happening in Asheville — people all over America are taking to the streets to demonstrate their concerns and frustrations.
I call on everyone in Asheville to commit to peaceful, lawful, nonviolent means of expressing of your views. If you believe in the dignity of all people, if you are fighting for dignity for yourself or others, I encourage you to demonstrate that belief in all of your words and deeds.
We remind everyone that expressions of free speech must remain peaceful.”
An announcement was posted on Cantrell’s Facebook page after the incident and it reads in part:
Today marks a week since Heather Heyer was murdered in Charlottesville while resisting white supremacists who came to defend the Robert E. Lee monument. Heather’s death comes after years of black people being slaughtered by the police and white silence in the face of institutionalized violence.
One of the calls to action made by Charlottesville organizers was to remove all confederate monuments. Today, organizers in Asheville made the decision to answer that call by attempting to remove our Robert E. Lee monument.
We understand that the removal of this monument would be symbolic of removing white supremacy from the very center of our City. We know that this must be connected to the deep work of ending systemic racism and white supremacy culture here.”