Four charged in Jackson monument attacks
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia charged four men over the weekend with the destruction of federal property.
The unsealed indictment charges that 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, allegedly damaged the statue of Andrew Jackson in an attempt to topple it on June 20, 2020, in Lafayette Square near the White House.
Judd was arrested on Friday and appeared in Superior Court of the District of Columbia on Saturday.
The FBI, U.S. Park Police and the Department of Justice (DOJ), in part, used video evidence from the protest to make the charges against the accused.
“The complaint alleges that Judd is seen on video trying to pull down the statue,” says the DOJ, “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.”
The indictment follows scenes of violence and destruction at or around Black Lives Matters (BLM) protests in Lafayette Square. Previously, protesters had been pushed out of the park by Park Police after arson attempts in areas adjacent to the park saw increased tension between police and protesters.
As protesters pelted police with foreign objects, including frozen water bottles, police cleared the area with foam bullets and pepper spray.
The subsequent attack on the Jackson statue was accompanied by simultaneous attacks on statues around the country that BLM considers offensive to them.
“Over the past month, various monuments across the United States—and, in some cases, in Europe, too—have been the subject of mass protests,” says ArtNews, “with demonstrators alleging that they promote white supremacy by raising racist figures to the status of heroes.”
Targets of attack have been statues of Lincoln, Grant, Teddy Roosevelt and Christian Heg, an abolitionist who opposed slavery and died at the Battle of Chickamauga during the Civil War.
The indictments come as President Trump and other GOP leaders, including Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AK) have vowed to bring the violence to heel.
Last week, President Trump signed an executive order authorizing the DOJ to prosecute those who attempt to destroy or do destroy national monuments.
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