Two were found guilty on Thursday in a case dealing with the toppling of the Silent Sam Confederate monument at UNC-Chapel Hill in August 2018.
Lauren Aucoin, Shawn Birchfield-Finn, Raul Jimenez and Jonathan Fuller were charged with misdemeanor injury to real property, defacing a public statue or monument and disorderly conduct and riot for their alleged roles in bringing the monument down.
Birchfield-Finn and Jimenez were found guilty of all charges, while the charges against Aucoin and Fuller were dropped after the judge found that the state did not provide evidence that the two were present at the incident in question.
All four defendants in the case came together on the steps across from the Orange County Courthouse before the trial, with Birchfield-Finn, Jiminez and Aucoin making impassioned statements on the case.
“We stand here today in solidarity with all the students, all the faculty, all the community members in Chapel Hill… who have constantly been persecuted because they believe that we deserve a South free of racism, free of white supremacy and free of monuments to white supremacy,” Jimenez said. “The community acted back in August telling Chapel Hill, telling UNC, telling the world that we don’t want your monuments to white supremacy, we don’t want your white surpremacy and we’ll continue to fight because that’s who we are.”
Birchfield-Finn and Jimenez were sentenced to 24 hours in the Orange County Jail for the injury to public property charge as well as 18 months of probation, a $500 fine, court costs and 250 hours of community service. The judge suspended the rest of a possible 45-day sentence.
Birchfield-Finn was also arrested for misdemeanor possession of a weapon on state property or courthouse grounds on Thursday after he brought a 3.5-inch pocket knife into the courthouse, neglecting to take the knife out of his pocket and place it in a bowl with other items he removed from his pockets before walking through a metal detector.
He went before the magistrate and was released on a written promise Thursday, after which he attended the Silent Sam trial.
Silent Sam is a bronze statue of a Confederate soldier built in 1913. It stood at McCorkle Place in Chapel Hill until a group of protestors toppled it on August 20, 2018. The statue and its base are currently in storage.