Officers have arrested the first person in connection with the tearing down of Edward Colston’s statue.
A 24-year-old man has been released under investigation, according to an Avon and Somerset police spokesperson.
Last month, detectives released 15 images of people they wanted to trace while investigating the toppling and dumping of the slave trader’s bronze statue into the Floating Habour.
The 18th century merchant’s statue was pulled down at the end of a Black Lives Matter protest on Sunday, June 7. This dramatic event sparked similar action across the UK and world.
Tonight (Wednesday, July 1), an Avon and Somerset Police spokesperson confirmed ‘Person K’ has been ‘arrested on suspicion of criminal damage and has since been released under investigation’.
Another suspect – Person B – ‘voluntarily attended a police station for interview’ last month.
Sixteen other suspects are still being sought by police but Bristol Live has made the decision not to publish the 15 pictures released.
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Detective Superintendent Liz Hughes previously 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.”
Detectives trawled through a ‘large amount of footage and photographs’ on social media, as well as CCTV images in and around the city centre and Harbourside.
Mrs Hughes previously confirmed police ‘received a formal complaint of criminal damage’ from Bristol City Council.’
Why is Bristol Live not publishing the suspects pictures?
Editor Mike Norton said ‘the majority of Bristolians accept that the years of frustration and offence at the statue’s existence mitigate what happened two weeks ago’.
He said: “We are not criticising the police and – unlike the council – have no influence over whether or not those responsible should be sought.
“But we do not agree that the actions of those young people should be reduced to a simple act of criminal damage which ignores the complex context and history around it.
“Furthermore, we think that the council has made the wrong decision to make a formal complaint. In a city which prides itself on its liberal non-conformity, this was the council’s chance to demonstrate to those offended by the statue that they had been heard and that the future would be different.
“But it has squandered that opportunity.”