Detectives have released images of 15 people they wish to speak too in connection with the toppling of a slave trader statue in Bristol.
Edward Colston’s statue was pulled down during Black Lives Matter (BLM), protests on June 7. It was then dragged to the harbour, where it was thrown into the water.
The incident sparked a nationwide debate over which statues should continue to exist in the UK, while counter-protesters, took to the streets to defend monuments they feared would be torn down.
The Colston statue has since been retrieved from the water and will be displayed in a museum. The mayor of Bristol, Marvin Rees, spoke about how the demonstration was sadly now a part of the monument’s history.
Officers from Avon and Somerset Police made the tactical decision not to intervene in the destruction of the Colston statue at the time, but launched a criminal investigation a short time later.
The force has now identified 18 people they wish to speak to about the incident, with images of 15 of these released today.
Anyone who recognises any of the photos, or has information, should contact the police. Detective Superintendent Liz Hughes said: “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.
“Some of the images are not as clear as we’d like, and some of those we want to identify are wearing masks, but we’re confident someone will know them and be able to provide us with their name.” Anyone with information is asked to contact the police on 101 (the number to call from the UK), providing the reference number 5220123926, or anonymously via the charity Crimestoppers.