COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The two people arrested for removing the Confederate flag from the front of the South Carolina Statehouse have been released from jail in the state capital.
Officer L. Tucker of the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center said 30-year-old Bree Newsome and 30-year-old James Ian Tyson were released from jail Saturday after posting bond.
Both Newsome and Tyson are from Charlotte.
Newsome was about halfway up the more than 30-foot steel flagpole just after dawn Saturday when officers of the South Carolina Bureau of Protective Services ran to the flagpole and told her to get down. Instead, she continued up the pole and removed the flag.
She and Tyson, who had both climbed over a wrought-iron fence to get to the flag, were arrested.
She and a man who had climbed over a four-foot wrought-iron fence to get to the flag were arrested.
The flag, which is protected by state law, was raised about 45 minutes later, well ahead of a rally later Saturday by supporters of keeping the flag where it is.
Sherri Iacobelli, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Public Safety, said Newsome and James Ian Tyson, 30, also of Charlotte, have been charged with defacing monuments on state Capitol grounds. That’s a misdemeanor that carries a fine of up to $5,000 and a prison term of up to three years or both.
A staff member at the Alvin Glenn Detention Center where the two were taken said she did not know if they had attorneys.
According to the crowdfunding website Indiegogo, the “Bail for Bree Newsome” fund had raised just over $77,000 in nine hours as of 8 p.m. EDT. The fund was set up to pay for her bail and legal expenses.
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.
Tamika Lewis, another member of the group, said taking down the flag “was done because we were tired of waiting for the judicial system to make the decision they have been prolonging for a very long time.”
Later Saturday, about 50 people who support keeping the flag held a rally at the statehouse. Many were waving Confederate flags as they shouted “Heritage Not Hate!”
“This is not a flag of hate. It’s a flag of heritage, and we have a right to our heritage,” said Leland Browder of Greenville. “And, you know, I’m from the South and proud of the South and, you know, proud of this flag.”
Supporters also said the voters should decide the fate of the flag and shouted: “Let the People Vote.”
Calls for removing the flag have been renewed since nine black churchgoers were killed in what police characterized as a racist attack at a Charleston, South Carolina church last week.