After Trump’s Executive Order, Four Men Face Federal Charges for Andrew Jackson Statue Incident

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On the same day President Donald Trump issued an executive order to crack down on vandals destroying statues and monuments that are part of America’s heritage, the Justice Department filed charges against four men in connection with an effort to topple a statue of former President Andrew Jackson.

Trump on Friday had also tweeted a composite of 15 individuals sought by the FBI after last Monday’s attempt to take down the statue of Jackson that stands in Lafayette Square across from the White House in Washington, D.C.

According to a Saturday news release from the Justice Department, the four men facing charges are Lee Michael Cantrell, 47, of Virginia; Connor Matthew Judd, 20, of D.C.; Ryan Lane, 37, of Maryland; and Graham Lloyd, 37, of Maine.

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They were charged with destruction of federal property, said Acting U.S. Attorney Michael R. Sherwin, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Washington Field Office’s Criminal Division James A. Dawson, and Acting Chief of the United States Park Police Gregory T. Monahan.

A criminal complaint claims video shows that on Monday, Cantrell attempted to “pry the statue off its base with a wooden board” and later tried to “pull the statue down with the aid of a yellow strap,” according to the news release.

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The complaint said video evidence links Judd and Lane to unsuccessful efforts to pull down the statue.

Video evidence was also cited in the complaint’s claim that Lloyd broke off and destroyed wheels of cannons at the state’s base, in addition to attempting to pull down the statue, according to the release.

Judd was the only one arrested to date, the DOJ said Saturday.

The department indicated that officials are trying to track down others involved in the attempt to destroy the statue.

To that end, Trump on Friday tweeted a series of images released by authorities in an effort to identify individuals involved in trying to topple the statue:

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Echoing the spirit of Trump’s executive order, officials involved in charging the four men said in Saturday’s statement that they would protect America’s heritage.

“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,” Sherwin said.

“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.”

“Members of the United States Park Police are working tirelessly to provide quality law enforcement, safeguard lives, protect our national treasures and symbols of democracy, and preserve the natural and cultural resources entrusted to its service,” Monahan added. “We are committed to ensuring that citizens are able to freely exercise their constitutional rights in a safe and peaceful manner.

“The deplorable acts of violence and destruction of property are unacceptable and will continue to be pursued through ongoing collaborative investigations and enforcement efforts.”

On Friday, the White House announced Trump had signed an executive order “that ensures that any person or group that destroys or vandalizes a monument, memorial, or statue,” as well as “those who incite violence and illegal activity,” are “prosecuted to the fullest extent under the law.”

The White House noted that damaging federal property carries a sentence of up to 10 years in prison.

The executive order, meanwhile, said that “state and local law enforcement agencies that fail to protect monuments, memorials, and statues will be subject to the withholding of federal support.”

The attorney general’s office will spearhead the prosecution of those who damage federal property, the order said.

“They’re tearing down statues, desecrating monuments, and purging dissenters,” Trump said in a statement.

“It’s not the behavior of a peaceful political movement; it’s the behavior of totalitarians and tyrants and people that don’t love our country.”

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