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FOUR men have been charged with the destruction of federal property after trying to pull down a statue of slave owner and former US president Andrew Jackson close to the White House last week.
US attorney for Washington DC Michael Sherwin confirmed on Saturday that Lee Michael Cantrell, Connor Matthew Judd, Ryan Lane and Graham Lloyd would be prosecuted after being identified in footage circulating on social media.
“The United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia will not stand idly by and allow our national monuments to be vandalised and destroyed,” he said.
Andrew Jackson was a slave owner and in 1830 signed into law the Indian Removal Act, which led to whole communities being expelled from their own land. As many as 60,000 people were uprooted and 4,000 died on the so-called Trail of Tears.
His statue was targeted in the wake of the killing of George Floyd by US police last month, with protesters tearing down symbols of oppression.
In New York City, the statue of president Theodore Roosevelt is being removed from the American Museum of Natural History. Mayor Bill de Blasio said that it “depicts black and Indigenous people as subjugated and racially inferior.”
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