Report: 4 Men Charged For Attacking Jackson Statue Near White House

OPINION | This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion.

Four men have been charged with assaulting a statue of President Andrew Jackson in Lafayette Square in Washington, D.C. near the White House.

ABC News reports: “Those charged are 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.”

While the four men were unsuccessful in their attempt to tear it down, one person was arrested and the other three were recognized on video during an investigation of the incident conducted by the FBI and the U.S. Park Police.

ABC News adds:

A statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia says the complaint 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. Judd is seen on video trying to pull down the statue while 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 alleges.

The video also shows Lloyd as he breaks off and destroys the wheels of cannons located at the base of the statue, pulling on ropes in an effort to topple the statue, and handing a hammer to an unidentified individual involved in the incident, the complaint alleges.

The failed attempt followed a series of successful efforts by other protesters across the country.

The incidents have all been spurred by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25, when a police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes. In the weeks since Floyd’s death, riots sprung up in major cities and statues of Confederate icons have been damaged or destroyed. These groups have also targetted statues of U.S. Presidents Jackson, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, and Teddy Roosevelt.

Responding to the charges of the four men involved in the Lafayette Square incident, Acting U.S. Attorney Michael R. Sherwin said law enforcement would no longer be idle in defending these monuments.

“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,” he said.

— Advertisement —

President Trump has also signed an executive order against protesters seeking to damage or destroy statues, carrying an up to ten-year prison sentence.

“I just had the privilege of signing a very strong Executive Order protecting American Monuments, Memorials, and Statues – and combatting recent Criminal Violence. Long prison terms for these lawless acts against our Great Country!” Trump tweeted Friday.

The president also tweeted a shortlist of people that have already been arrested for tampering with or destroying the statues.

“MANY people in custody, with many others being sought for Vandalization of Federal Property in Lafayette Park. 10-year prison sentences!”