By Jake Dima and Benjamin Nichols
Four people have been charged following an attempt to dismantle a prominent statue of Andrew Jackson near the White House, the Department of Justice said Saturday.
All four of the men were purportedly caught on video allegedly either attempting to affix straps in order to bring down the monument or actively pulling the statue, according to the DOJ.
Lee Michael Cantrell, 47, Connor Matthew Judd, 20, Ryan Lane, 37, and Graham Lloyd, 37, were charged in connection with a June 22 demonstration that tried, but failed, to rip down a statue of Andrew Jackson, the 17th president of the United States, according to a DOJ press release.
“The United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia will not stand idly by and allow our national monuments to be vandalized and destroyed,” Acting U.S. Attorney Michael R. Sherwin said in the press release.
“This Office remains steadfast in its commitment to protect the sacred First Amendment right of individuals to peacefully protest, but these charges should serve as a warning to those who choose to desecrate the statues and monuments that adorn our nation’s capital: your violent behavior and criminal conduct will not be tolerated.”
Protestors in Washington, D.C. tearing down a statue of Andrew Jackson, the president responsible for the Trail of Tears and a hero to President Trump. Video courtesy of @jonathanchase_ pic.twitter.com/MH2t4m7MT9
— Julia Ioffe (@juliaioffe) June 23, 2020
Judd was arrested Friday and brought before a judge on Saturday. The DOJ did not specify whether the other three men had been arrested.
President Donald Trump on Friday posted a list of suspects from the June 22 vandalism, urging “10 year prison sentences!”
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 26, 2020
‘We Will Go After People’: Attorney General Barr Promises To Prosecute Rioters
Attorney General William Barr said rioters will not go unpunished for their crimes.
“When the real violence started around May 25 … we started using our joint terrorism task forces around the country,” he said. He was referring to protests and rioting that ensued after the May 25 death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody.
The task forces are “cranking out investigations, indictments against the people involved in this violence,” according to Barr.
Rioters have attacked reporters and caused hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage.
Barr said footage of the “attack on President Jackson’s statue” in Washington, D.C., is being carefully examined in order to prosecute those involved.
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