Four Protesters Cleared In Toppling of British Slave Trader Statue

In Summary

During worldwide protests sparked by George Floyd's murder, the statue of a British slave trader was pulled down and rolled into the harbor.  

Four protestors have been cleared of criminal damage in the toppling of a statue depicting a 17th-century slave trader.

RELATED: Tennessee Town Topples Statue of Confederate General  

Colson was a member of the Royal African Company, which had a monopoly on the West African slave trade. According to The Guardian, the company is believed to have sold about 100,000 West African people in America and the Caribbean.  

In Bristol Crown Court on Wednesday, 30-year-old Rhian Graham, 26-year-old Milo Ponsford, 22-year-old Sage Willoughby and 33-year-old Jake Skuse were acquitted. Graham, Ponsford and Willoughby were caught on camera passing the ropes around that statue, while Skuse was accused of coming up with the plan to roll the figure into the harbor.  

All four admitted their involvement but denied their actions were criminal. They claimed the statue itself was a hate crime against the people of Bristol. The group received help in the high-profile case, including from artist Banksy, who designed a limited edition T-shirt pledging to raise funds for the cause.  

RELATED: Black Panther Party Founder Honored With a Statue in Oakland  

“This is a victory for Briston, this is a victory for racial equality and it’s a victory for anybody who wants to be on the right side of history,” Willoughby said.  

Raj Chada, the legal counsel who represented Skuse, released a statement saying the prosecution of the group should have never happened. “The truth is that the defendants should never have been prosecuted,” Chada said. “It is shameful that Bristol City Council did not take down the statue of slaver Edward Colson that had caused such offence to people in Bristol, and equally shameful that they then supported the prosecution of these defendants.”  

RELATED: House Approves of Removing Confederate Statues from the Capitol  

After the statue was removed from the harbor, it was placed on display in a museum with placards from the Black Lives Matter demonstration, the AP reported.  

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