COLUMBIA, South Carolina — A 30-year-old woman from Raleigh has been charged after she removed the Confederate battle flag that flies in front of the South Carolina Statehouse in Columbia, S.C.
Brittany Ann Byuarim Newsome was about halfway up the more than 30-foot steel flagpole just after dawn Saturday when State Capitol police told her to come down.
Instead, Newsome, who was wearing climbing gear, continued up and removed the flag before returning to the ground. Video posted on YouTube showed Newsome's climb.
Newsome is charged with defacing state property. James Ian Tyson, 30, of Charlotte, was also arrested for entering the wrought-iron fence surrounding the flag. The charge is a misdemeanor that carries a fine of up to $5,000 and a prison term of up to three years or both.
A replacement flag was returned to the flagpole about an hour after Newsome's climb, officials said.
Newsome posted bond Saturday afternoon, her attorney Todd Rutherford told WRAL News. About the time of her arrest, Newsome released an email statement to the media.
"We removed the flag today because we can't wait any longer. We can't continue like this another day," it said. "It's time for a new chapter where we are sincere about dismantling white supremacy and building toward true racial justice and equality."
Authorities said Newsome was from Raleigh. However, Mervyn Marcano, a spokesman for the small group of activists who worked together to take down the flag, said she had recently moved to Charlotte
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Lift ye up a banner upon the high mountain, exalt the voice unto them, shake the hand, that they may go into the gates of the nobles.