Individuals that allegedly tried to topple a statue of Andrew Jackson have been criminally charged with the destruction of federal property, the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia announced over the weekend.
The four charged are Connor Matthew Judd, 20, of Washington, D.C.; Graham Lloyd, 37, of Maine; Ryan Lane, 37, of Maryland; and 47-year-old Virginia resident Lee Michael Cantrell. These four are so to have tried both damaging and attempting to topple the statue with other unidentified people on June 22.
The US Attorney’s Office for DC stated:
The complaint further alleges that Cantrell was captured on video attempting to pry the statue off its base with a wooden board and trying to pull the statue down with the aid of a yellow strap. The complaint alleges that Judd is seen on video trying to pull down the statue, and that Lane is seen on video affixing a rope to one part of the statue and then pulling on another rope tied to the statue. The complaint also alleges that video of the incident shows Lloyd as he breaks off and destroys the wheels of cannons located at the base of the statue. Lloyd is also captured on video pulling on ropes in an effort to topple the statue, and handing a hammer to an unidentified individual involved in the incident. Judd was arrested on Friday and appeared in Superior Court of the District of Columbia today… The remaining defendants have not yet been apprehended.
“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.”
The arrests came after it was reported that the Department of Justice announced that Attorney General William Barr was creating a task force to target “anti-government extremists.”
“Although these extremists profess a variety of ideologies, they are united in their opposition to the core constitutional values of a democratic society governed by law,” Barr wrote in a memo obtained by the Washington Post. “Some pretend to profess a message of freedom and progress, but they are in fact forces of anarchy, destruction, and coercion.”