One Arrested, Three At Large After Being Charged for Jackson Statue Attack

One man has been arrested and three others remain at large after they were charged by federal authorities over a failed bid to tear down down the statue of President Andrew Jackson during a protest near the White House.

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, were charged with destruction of federal property, authorities said in a news release.

Judd was arrested on Friday and appeared in Superior Court of the District of Columbia on Saturday. The other three have not yet been apprehended, according to the release.

In a complaint unsealed on Saturday, authorities allege that the men, along with other unidentified individuals, damaged and attempted to tear down the statue in Lafayette Square on June 22.

The square, near the White House, has been the scene of ongoing protests against police brutality and racism sparked by the death of George Floyd, a Black man, in Minneapolis police custody last month.

The statue of former US Presides Andrew Jackson is inspected after demonstrators tried overnight to tear it down in Lafayette Park in Washington, DC, on June 23, 2020. Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

The complaint alleges 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, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia.

The complaint also alleges that 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.

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

"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 a statement.

The 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," he added.

The FBI and the U.S. Park Police have been investigating the incident with the help of the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington, D.C.

"The FBI respects the peaceful exercise of First Amendment rights, but we will not allow opportunists to hijack peaceful protests to incite violence and destruction of property," James A. Dawson, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Washington Field Office's Criminal Division, said.

"We will continue to work with our partners to enforce federal laws prohibiting damage to government facilities and property."

It comes after President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Friday to protect statues and monuments in the U.S. and promised long prison sentences for anyone who threatens them.

The Army also deployed unarmed National Guardsmen to help local law enforcement protect monuments in the nation's capital, CNN reported.

On Saturday, Trump shared more than a dozen appeals from the U.S. Park Police attempting to identify those involved in the effort to topple the Jackson statue.

"Since imposing a very powerful 10 year prison sentence on those that Vandalize Monuments, Statues etc., with many people being arrested all over our Country, the Vandalism has completely stopped. Thank you!' Trump tweeted early Sunday.