Arrests are happening across the country for vandalism to statues, rioting, looting and arson. According to Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany in the press briefing today from the White House, “Over 100 anarchists have been arrested for rioting and destruction of Federal property. The FBI has over 200 open domestic terrorism investigations on-going, AG Barr has created a task force on violent anti-government extremists led by the US Attorney’s office in NJ and the US Attorney’s office in Northern Texas. With 200 Trump-appointed judges confirmed, the rule of law will be upheld“.
The arrests include 7 people who were arrested on June 11 in Miami, Florida for the removal of and vandalism of Christopher Columbus and Juan Ponce de Leon statues. The charges against the arrested men include inciting to riot, battery against an officer, aggravated assault, criminal mischief, unlawful assembly, disorderly conduct, and resisting an officer. A protestor, Richard Dombroff, said at the time of the arrests “We’ve been peaceful all week long and you just broke that peace”.
Last night the George Washington Arch in Washington Square Park in New York City was vandalized with red paint splashed all over it. Protestors brought coolers with balloons filled with red paint, which they left at the scene. The Manhattan District Attorney’s office said there were three who were arrested and were awaiting arraignment Monday.
According to a Department of Justice press release, four men were arrested on June 22nd along with other unidentifiable individuals for vandalizing the Andrew Jackson statue in Lafayette Square, “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 by criminal complaint yesterday with the destruction of federal property, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Michael R. Sherwin, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Washington Field Office’s Criminal Division, James A. Dawson, and Acting Chief of the United States Park Police (USPP) Gregory T. Monahan“.
“The complaint, unsealed today, alleges that on June 22, 2020, the four men along with other unidentified individuals, damaged and attempted to tear down the statue depicting Andrew Jackson located in Lafayette Square. The complaint further alleges 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 complaint alleges that Judd is seen on video trying to pull down the statue, and that Lane is seen on video affixing a rope to one part of the statue and then pulling on another rope tied to the statue. The complaint also alleges that video of the incident shows Lloyd as he breaks off and destroys the wheels of cannons located at the base of the statue. Lloyd is also captured on video pulling on ropes in an effort to topple the statue, and handing a hammer to an unidentified individual involved in the incident”.
“Judd was arrested on Friday and appeared in Superior Court of the District of Columbia today. The matter will be transferred to the United States District Court for the District of Columbia on Monday, June 29, 2020, where Judd will make his initial appearance before United States Magistrate Judge Robin M. Meriweather. The remaining defendants have not yet been apprehended“.
Acting U.S. Attorney Michael R. Sherwin said in a statement, “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”.
The President signed an Executive Order on Protecting American Monuments, Memorials, and Statues and Combating Recent Criminal Violence on Friday, June 26, 2020. The EO cites several statutes regarding prosecuting and sentencing which can bring a sentence of up to 10 years in prison and includes religious property: USC §1361 of title 18, Veterans’ Memorial Preservation and Recognition Act of 2003, USC §1369 of title 18, Travel ActUSC §1952 of title 18, Civil statutes like the Public System Resource Protection Act, USC §100722 of title 54, Numerous Federal laws, USC §2101 of title 18, USC §371 of title 18, USC §2 of title 18, USC §2339A of title 18, USC §247 of title 18, USC §371 of title 18.
The EO went on to say, “My Administration will not allow violent mobs incited by a radical fringe to become the arbiters of the aspects of our history that can be celebrated in public spaces. State and local public officials’ abdication of their law enforcement responsibilities in deference to this violent assault must end“.