Nukewatch Quarterly Spring 2022
By John LaForge
Anti-racism, civil rights, and human rights activists celebrated the Jan. 6, 2022 decision of a jury to acquit four protesters who toppled the statue of slave trader Edward Colston. Jake Skuse, Rhian Graham, Milo Ponsford, and Sage Willoughby acknowledged pulling down the eyesore and throwing it in the River Avon in Bristol, England during a Black Lives Matter protest in 2020, but they contested the charges of criminal damage to government property.
The defendants argued that the statue was so indecent and potentially abusive that its existence constituted a crime, the Guardian Weekly reported. The Epoch Times noted that the Colston statute “glorified a slave trader involved in the enslavement of over 84,000 black men, women, and children as a ‘most virtuous and wise’ man.”
Attorney General Suella Braverman responded to the verdict by saying she was considering an appeal to “clarify the law” because the not guilty verdict was “causing confusion.” The acquittals cannot be overturned and there cannot be a retrial without fresh evidence. Nile Gardiner, a former aide to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and director of the Margaret Thatcher Centre for Freedom at the Heritage Foundation, told the Telegraph that the verdict had set “an extremely dangerous precedent” that gives mobs a green light to “tear down statues across the country,” begging the question: “Dangerous to what?”