Four men charged for allegedly attempting to tear down Andrew Jackson statue


The base of the statue of former president Andrew Jackson is power washed inside a newly closed Lafayette Park, Wednesday, June 24, 2020, in Washington, which has been the site of protests over the death of George Floyd, a black man who was in police custody in Minneapolis. Floyd died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

(CBS News)– Four men have been charged in federal court for allegedly attempting to tear down the statue of former President Andrew Jackson in Lafayette Square in Washington, D.C. on Monday. They have each been charged with destruction of federal property and one has been arrested, the Department of Justice announced Saturday.

Connor Matthew Judd, 20, was taken into custody Friday, according to the DoJ. The other three men, Lee Michael Cantrell, 47, Ryan Lane, 37, and Graham Lloyd, 37, were allegedly seen on video attempting to tear down or damage the statue along with Judd.

Judd is scheduled to appear in court Monday. 

“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,” acting U.S. Attorney Michael R. Sherwin said in a statement Saturday.

As protesters throughout the country have taken down Confederate memorials and statues of former presidents and Christopher Columbus, President Trump has pushed for those who participate in the destruction of statues and the burning of the American flag to face criminal charges.

Mr. Trump on Friday signed an executive order instructing federal law enforcement to “prosecute the fullest extent permitted under Federal law” people who damage federal monuments. There is currently a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison for the “willful injury” of federal property.

Earlier on Saturday, Mr. Trump tweeted several attempt to identify posters of people the United States Park Police alleges tried to take down the statue of Jackson.

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