WASHINGTON, D.C. — Four men were charged in federal court with destruction of federal property for trying to pull down a statue of former President Andrew Jackson on Monday.
Prosecutors said Lee Michael Cantrell, 47, of Virginia; Connor Matthew Judd, 20, of Washington, D.C.; Ryan Lane, 37, of Maryland; and Graham Lloyd, 37, of Maine, as well as other unidentified individuals tried to tear down the statue of Jackson in Lafayette Square in Washington, D.C.
Surveillance video shows Cantrell using a wooden board and yellow strap to try and pry the statue from its base. Judd is also seen in the video trying to pull down the statue. Lane is seen in the video putting a rope around another part of the statue and then pulling on it. Video shows Lloyd breaks off the wheels on the cannons near the base of the statue. He then hands a hammer to another unidentified person.
Judd was arrested Friday. He is scheduled to appear in court Monday.
“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 a statement. “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.”
President Donald Trump signed an executive order Friday to protect federal monuments from vandalism and instruct federal investigators to prosecute people who damage federal monuments under “the fullest extent permitted,” CBS News reported. The current maximum penalty is 10 years in prison.
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