Last week a well-organized group of protesters attempted to pull down a statue of Andrew Jackson in Lafayette Square. That attempt failed after police pushed their way through a line of protesters and protected the statue. Today, one of the ringleaders of the operation was arrested by the feds:
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. He was arrested by the FBI and U.S. Park Police as part of a joint task force.
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.
“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.”
The FBI’s criminal complaint against Charter attaches screengrabs of local news videos and says Charter “is plainly visible in footage from the destruction of both the Pike Statue and the Jackson Statue, carrying the same Swiss Gear logo backpack, bicycle helmet, walking cane, and armband.”
Charter is active on Twitter and clearly identifies himself as Antifa:
He’s also been clear where he stands on tearing down statues. This tweet in particular is mentioned in the criminal complaint:
Tearing down statues of traitors to the nation is a service to this nation not a crime. #TearThemDown pic.twitter.com/bPti1Txoyg
— Jason Charter (@JasonRCharter) June 20, 2020
That image appears to come from the tearing down of a statue of Confederate general Albert Pike. As you can see in this clip, after pulling it down, the protesters set it on fire:
In addition to tearing down statues, Charter was recently filmed confronting a reporter for the Daily Caller:
I actually wanted him ejected for being an agitator. But good job only getting part of the story. An editor from the caller later had him removed from the protest.
— Jason Charter (@JasonRCharter) June 27, 2020
Charter isn’t the only person charged in connection with the attempt to tear down the statue of Jackson. On Saturday the DOJ announced charges against four other men:
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 all charged in a criminal complaint Friday with “destruction of federal property,” according to the Justice Department (DOJ)…
The complaint, which was unsealed Saturday, states that on June 22, the four men participated in damaging the statue alongside other rioters, while also being 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 DOJ said.
It also claims there is video evidence showing “Lloyd as he breaks off and destroys the wheels of cannons located at the base of the statue. Lloyd is then 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,” according to the department.
Charter is expected to make his first appearance before a judge today. Here’s video of the failed attempt to pull down the Jackson statue.