The Justice Department announced charged four men with destruction of federal property for attempting to tear down a statue of Andrew Jackson in Lafayette Square last week.
The FBI and the United States Park Police said Virginia resident Lee Michael Cantrell, D.C. local Connor Matthew Judd, 20, Maryland resident Ryan Lane, 37, and Graham Lloyd, 37, of Maine, had been seen on video trying to tear down the statue. While Judd has been arrested, the other three men have yet to be 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. 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 the release.
President Trump, who said last week that he had “authorized the Federal Government to arrest anyone who vandalizes or destroys any monument, statue or other such Federal property in the U.S. with up to 10 years in prison, per the Veteran’s Memorial Preservation Act,” tweeted out multiple images of those caught on tape at the riot in Lafayette Square.
On Friday, he signed an executive order to prohibit the desecration of public monuments.
“I just had the privilege of signing a very strong Executive Order protecting American Monuments, Memorials, and Statues – and combatting recent Criminal Violence,” Trump tweeted. “Long prison terms for these lawless acts against our Great Country!”