WASHINGTON - Federal law enforcement officials on Thursday arrested a man in Washington they call a “ringleader” in the recent attempt to destroy the Andrew Jackson statue in Lafayette Square near the White House.
Law enforcement sources tell Fox News that Jason Charter was arrested at his residence Thursday morning, without incident, and charged with destruction of federal property. These sources add that Charter has connections to Antifa and was in a leadership role on the night of June 22 when a large group of protesters tried to pull down the statue in Washington, D.C.
“They were very organized,” a federal law enforcement official said. “Charter was on top of the statue and directing people ... they had acid, chisels, straps and a human chain preventing police from getting to the statue.
Protesters say the Andrew Jackson statue is offensive because he was a slave owner and because of his treatment of Native Americans.
Another man, Graham Lloyd, 37, turned himself in for similar charges in Portland, Maine, and had an initial appearance in federal court there on Wednesday afternoon. Lloyd is also accused of destruction of federal property for his role in the attempt to take down the Jackson statue.
A magistrate judge in Maine has transferred Lloyd’s case to federal court in Washington D.C.
These arrests come in the wake of the June 24 executive order signed by President Trump intended to protect monuments and statues.
Trump tweeted, “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.”