Sunday, 25 Oct 2020

Man, 24, arrested after statue of slave trader Edward Colston was torn down

A man has been arrested on suspicion of criminal damage after a statue of slave trader Edward Colston was pulled down during an anti-racism protest in Bristol.

The bronze memorial to the 17th Century slave trader, which has been in the city centre since 1895, was torn down during a Black Lives Matter protest on June 7 and was later dumped into Bristol harbour.

A 24-year-old man has now been arrested on suspicion of criminal damage by police investigating the incident, Avon and Somerset Police said.

It is understood he is the first person to be arrested in relation to the incident, as no arrests were made at the time.

The force said it would be reviewing footage of a ‘small group of people’ who were filmed pulling down the statue with ropes. The investigation is ongoing, added police.

During the protest, the statue was torn down with rope, dragged through the streets of Bristol, and thrown into the water near Pero’s Bridge – named in honour of an enslaved man.

Bristol council has since retrieved the statue, which will now be displayed in a museum along with placards from the Black Lives Matter protest.

Detective Superintendent Liz Hughes said in an appeal on June 22: ‘The incident attracted worldwide attention and there’s no denying it has polarised public opinion – but in the eyes of the law a crime has been committed and we’re duty-bound to investigate this without fear or favour.

‘I’d like to reassure people we’re carrying out a thorough, fair and proportionate investigation and have sought early investigative advice from the Crown Prosecution Service.’

Anyone with information is asked to contact the force on 101, providing the reference number 5220123926, or anonymously via the charity Crimestoppers.

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