50 years after the Civil Rights movement and this is where we are today on racial equality. From Rosa Parks to Bree Newsome, it’s become very clear that anyone who dares to challenge the White power structure [status quo] will be made an example of. Shout out to Bree and the man who accompanied her for taking action.
COLUMBIA, S.C. — A black female activist in a helmet and climbing gear scaled a flagpole in front of the State Capitol in Columbia, S.C., Saturday morning and briefly removed a controversialConfederate battle flag.
In a video of the incident, security officers can be heard yelling, “Ma’am come down off the pole.”
The woman, who law enforcement identified as 30-year-old Bree Ann Byuarium Newsome of Raleigh, can be heard saying, “You come against me in the name of hatred, repression, and violence. I come against you in the name of God. This flag comes down today.”
After scaling the 30-foot pole and retrieving the flag, she and a male companion were arrested by State Capitol police who waited for her at the bottom inside a small, wrought-iron fence.
As she was being led off in handcuffs, Newsome could be heard reciting the 23rd Psalm from the Bible.
The flag, which is protected by state law, was hoisted again about 45 minutes later. A pro-flag rally was previously planned at the site Saturday morning.
“We removed the flag today because we can’t wait any longer. We can’t continue like this another day,” Newsome said in a statement issued around the time of her arrest. “It’s time for a new chapter where we are sincere about dismantling white supremacy and building toward true racial justice and equality.”
Sherri Iacobelli, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Public Safety, said that Newsome, and a companion, James Ian Tyson, 30, both from Charlotte, were charged with defacing monuments on state Capitol grounds. The misdemeanor charge carries a fine of up to $5,000 and a prison term of up to three years or both.
A judge gave them each a $3,000 bond and told them they were allowed to leave the state if they wished. Democratic state Rep. Todd Rutherford of Columbia, who also is attorney, will represent Newsome. Rutherford is minority leader of the state House of Representatives.
“The flag is gone,” Ferguson Action said on Twitter, congratulating “local organizers” for the operation. It also tweeted a photo of the woman being taken away by police.
The flag has been at the center of a heated debate following the killing of nine black parishioners at a historic black church in Charleston on June 17.
Gov. Nikki Haley, a Republican, has called for the removal of the flag, and the state General Assembly has agreed to debate the issue next month.
Lonnie Randolph Jr., president of the South Carolina State Conference of the NAACP, said the two activists were apparently “well-intentioned,” but he counseled that “(i)mpatience must always be tempered by purpose and prudence.”
“This is not yet the time for civil disobedience, but a time for grieving over the tragedy in Charleston and a reflection on symbols and the hatred they fuel,” he said in a statement. He also urged that opponents of the flag give the General Assembly the opportunity to address this issue in July “to at last remove this hurtful symbol from the people’s State House.”