A judge ruled Monday that the University of North Carolina’s chancellor won’t have to testify at the trial of a woman accused of pouring red ink and her own blood on a Confederate statue in a headline-grabbing protest that preceded the statue’s toppling months later.

Maya Little’s trial on a misdemeanor count of defacing a public monument began with the judge watching video of her pouring red ink on the statue known as Silent Sam last April. Little is not among the several people charged with tearing the statue down at an August protest; their cases on misdemeanor charges are pending.

Defense lawyer Scott Holmes had sought to force Chancellor Carol Folt and campus Police Chief Jeff McCracken to testify at Little’s trial, saying they were needed to explain the context of the statue that demonstrators decried as racist.

But Orange County Judge Samantha Cabe denied the request. She said other witnesses have more direct knowledge of the charge against Little, and she noted that the recent request could have been filed sooner.

The judge heard testimony Monday morning from three witnesses called by prosecutors — two campus police officers and a maintenance supervisor who helped scrub off the statue.

The defense was expected to call at least five witnesses Monday afternoon after a midday recess.

Cabe watched body camera footage from UNC Police Lt. Jeff Mosher, who arrested Little. The April 30, 2018, footage showed him approach as Little stood on the statue’s pedestal and poured the ink out of a container. Mosher said she also pressed her hand, which was bleeding from being cut, on the statue, and he testified she later told him she had put ink and some of her own blood on the monument. Some of the other couple-dozen protesters can be heard on the video chanting “No cops, no Klan! Get rid of Silent Sam!”

He said the cut on her hand was treated by a fellow protester before Little was put in a police cruiser. Little said in an interview earlier this year that her demonstration was meant to show that the statue symbolized violence against black people: “There is no Silent Sam without black blood, without violence towards black people.”

A campus maintenance supervisor, Josh Pates, testified that crews used a pressure washer, wire brushes and solvent over three days to remove red stains, at a cost of about $4,000, including supplies and labor.

Little has been a vocal critic of the statue over the past year as hundreds have gathered to decry what they describe as its racist origins. A couple dozen supporters gathered with signs before her trial.

The century-old statue of an anonymous bronze Confederate soldier stood for a century in a main UNC quad before it was toppled in August by protesters.

The statue has been in storage while campus leaders debate its fate.


Follow Drew at www.twitter.com/JonathanLDrew

Source: The Associated Press

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