Pictured: 15 people wanted over toppling of slave trader Colston statue

  • london
  • June 21, 2020
  • Comments Off on Pictured: 15 people wanted over toppling of slave trader Colston statue

Police investigating the toppling of the Edward Colston statue in Bristol have released images of 15 people they want to speak to.

The monument to the 17th century slave trader was pulled down and rolled into the harbour during a Black Lives Matter protest on 7 June.

It was later recovered by the council which plans to display it in a museum.

Slaver statue pulled from harbour

Officers from Avon and Somerset Police launched a criminal damage investigation and have now identified 18 people, with images of 15 of them released as part of a public appeal.

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.”

She said that a “thorough, fair and proportionate” investigation is under way.

Ms Hughes added: “A significant number of enquiries have already been carried out including the examination of the large amount of footage and photographs which have circulated online and on social media, as well as footage from the network of CCTV cameras in and around the city centre and Harbourside.”

The statue of Edward Colston was pulled down during a Black Lives Matter protest

The toppling of the Colston monument sparked a nationwide debate over historic statues – including those of colonialist Cecil Rhodes at Oriel College in Oxford and the founder of the Scouts, Robert Baden-Powell.

Detectives in Bristol have identified 18 individuals from footage, but say they do not know the identity of 15 of them.

Ms Hughes said: “We’ve carried out a number of enquiries to try and establish who these people are in the hope we wouldn’t need to release their images into the public domain and have managed to identify a small number who we’re making arrangements with to get their account of events.

“However, despite every effort being made to identify the remaining people we’d like to talk to, we still don’t know who they are which is why we’re now releasing images of them in the hope the public can help.”

Anyone with information to identify any of the people in the images below is asked to call 101 and provide the call handler with the reference 5220123926.