4 men charged for attempting to tear down Jackson statue in Lafayette Square

Four men alleged to have been trying to tear down the Andrew Jackson statue in Lafayette Square just outside of the White House were each charged with destruction of federal property on Friday, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for D.C.

The incident took place on Monday, June 22, when Lee Michael Cantrell, 47, of Virginia; Connor Matthew Judd, 20, of D.C.; Ryan Lane, 37, of Maryland and Graham Lloyd, 37, of Maine were allegedly trying to take down the Jackson statue, along with other unidentified individuals.

The unsealed complaint alleged, according to the release, 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 release said Judd’s alleged offense was him trying to pull down the statue, which was caught on video.

Lane was also allegedly seen on video affixing a rope to one part of the statue and then pulling on another rope tied to it.

Video of the incident used in the complaint said that Lloyd allegedly broke off and destroyed the wheels of cannons located at the base of the statue.

Lloyd is also allegedly captured on video pulling on ropes to topple the statue and handing a hammer to an unidentified individual involved in the incident.

“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 the release.

“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.”

Judd was arrested on Friday and appeared in Superior Court of the District of Columbia Saturday. No other arrests were announced.

The matter will be transferred to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on Monday, June 29, where Judd will make his initial court appearance before Magistrate Judge Robin M. Meriweather.

The charges come President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Friday, calling on the attorney general to prosecute to the fullest extent of the law any person or group that destroys or vandalizes a monument, memorial or statue. A penalty of up to 10 years in prison for the “willful injury” of federal property according to federal law.

The joint investigation was conducted by the U.S. Park Police and the FBI Washington Field Office’s Violent Crime Task Force, with assistance with D.C.’s Metropolitan Police Department, according to the release.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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