As observers at the Silent Sam protest of August 20th, contrary to the vilification of Chief Chris Blue and the Chapel Hill Police Department (CHPD) for not using whatever force required to stop the protesters, the Chapel Hill – Carrboro Branch of the National Association of the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) supports Chief Blue and his organization for their exercise of restraint in a responsible way to protect protesters and police officers from injury.
The fact that there were no injuries before or after the statue fell on the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill campus should be perceived as an indisputably good thing by the public regardless of political affiliation or personal or cultural perceptions of that statue and its legacy.
In fact, supporters of Silent Sam should take great comfort in that the statue was not destroyed. It is not missing and it was not irrevocably defaced. It stands somewhere safe—just like all the protesters that night—waiting for an orderly resolution of the next steps.
While subsequent disclosures may cause us to posit otherwise, we think protecting people instead of protecting a statue was the most responsible action possible by Chief Chris Blue and the CHPD, especially under the unpredictable real time circumstances happening that night.
The mission of the NAACP may, from time to time, put us in opposition to law enforcement conduct. In this case however, we appreciate and support Chief Chris Blue’s stewardship of public safety on August 20th.
We believe all North Carolinians should as well.
Chapel Hill – Carrboro NAACP