Chatham County

2 arrested during ‘altercation’ over Confederate statue in Chatham County

Police arrested two men Saturday afternoon when they got into what was described as “a physical altercation” during another weekend of protests over a Confederate statue outside the Chatham County courthouse.

Saturday’s demonstration was peaceful until shortly after 1 p.m. when the two men had their altercation on Sanford Road, the Sheriff’s Office said in a news release.

Calvin James Megginson, 29, of Pittsboro and Timothy James Osborn, 24, of Carrboro were charged with inciting a riot and affray, the release stated. Both men made written promises to appear Nov. 13 in Chatham County District Court, according to the release.

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Timothy James Osborne Chatham County Sheriff's Office

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Calvin James Megginson Chatham County Sheriff's Office

In a statement, Chief Deputy Charles Gardner said: “We respect every resident’s right to peacefully assemble in nonviolent protest or support of their beliefs. However, unlawful or violent behavior will not be tolerated.”

A Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman could not immediately provide additional information about what happened during the altercation.

Videos posted to social media Saturday show Megginson and Osborn, who are described as anti-racists in some places, interacting with pro-statue protesters.

Videos streamed live after the arrests show pro-Confederate protesters celebrating and calling the arrests “a major, major victory.”

Some of those protesting the statue questioned the arrests.

“Chatham County Sheriffs came out and grabbed two anti-racists,” Lindsday Ayling, a UNC-Chapel Hill graduate student studying history, tweeted. “They wouldn’t say what for. Racists are bragging about the arrests, saying more of us will be arrested if we continue to oppose them.”

Ayling also demonstrated against Silent Sam, the Confederate statue toppled on UNC’s campus last year..

The Confederate statue in Pittsboro has been at the center of a protests and counter-protests in recent weekends, with the Chatham County commissioners voting in August to ask the Winnie Davis Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy to offer a plan by Oct. 1 for the statute’s removal. The chapter did not provide such a plan.

The commissioners plan to declare the statue public trespass by Nov. 1, The News & Observer has reported, allowing it to be removed. The Winnie Davis Chapter filed a lawsuit Wednesday seeking a temporary restraining order and injunction preventing the statue’s removal, WRAL-TV reported.

Previous weekends have included arrests, with three on Sept. 28 and another three on Oct. 5 when three anti-racist demonstrators refused to return to their side of the street, according to The N&O.

Last weekend, there were no arrests, but the groups were separated several times and Megginson sat in front of a backhoe carrying a Confederate flag, bringing it to a halt where Sanford Road passes over Robeson Creek.

This story was produced with financial support from Report for America/GroundTruth Project, the North Carolina Community Foundation and the North Carolina Local News Lab Fund. The News & Observer maintains full editorial control of the work.

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