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4 men charged for allegedly trying to tear down Andrew Jackson statue in Lafayette Square

"These charges should serve as a warning."

WASHINGTON — Four men are charged in federal court for allegedly trying to tear down the Andrew Jackson statue in Lafayette Square last Monday. 

These men are 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, according to the Department of Justice (DOJ). 

They are charged with the destruction of federal property, but only Judd has reportedly been arrested.

“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 protecting 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.

Judd was arrested on Friday and appeared in Superior Court of the District of Columbia on Saturday, authorities said.

The other three have not been apprehended. The FBI and the U.S. Park Police have been investigating the incident.

Caught on camera, the video shows Lloyd as he breaks off and destroys the wheels of cannons located at the base of the statue, pulling on ropes in an effort to topple the statue, and handing a hammer to an unidentified individual involved in the incident, the complaint alleges.

On Saturday, President Donald Trump tweeted out wanted posters from U.S. Park Police that had pictures of those charged federally. 

President Trump did sign an executive order this week that gave the National Park Service more power to combat vandalism against its statues.

"I just had the privilege of signing a very strong Executive Order protecting American Monuments, Memorials, and Statues — and combating recent Criminal Violence. Long prison terms for these lawless acts against our Great Country!," said Trump in a recent Tweet.

Statues have been a hot topic of debate over the last two weeks and stem from large social justice discussions and protests that have been seen over the last month following George Floyd's death in Minneapolis.

These charges were filed based on a joint investigation conducted by the United States Park Police and the FBI Washington Field Office’s Violent Crime Task Force. 

D.C. Police also helped in the investigation.

Tips associated with this matter or other acts of violence can be reported to the FBI at 202-278-2000 or tips.fbi.gov.

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