WASHINGTON — Federal prosecutors have arrested a man they are calling an Antifa-affiliated “ringleader” of an effort to pull down the Andrew Jackson statue outside the White House last month.
FBI agents and Park Police officers nabbed Jason Charter at his home Thursday morning in a joint operation between their departments and charged him with destruction of federal property, law enforcement sources told Fox News.
Charter allegedly has ties to Antifa, a far-left extremist group which President Trump wants to designate as a terrorist organization. The feds also accuse Charter of a role in the burning of a statue of Confederate Brigadier General Albert Pike in DC earlier in June.
“They were very organized,” a federal law enforcement official told Fox News.
“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 official said.
Protesters tried to topple the statue of President Andrew Jackson in Lafayette Park on June 22 — leading to a fierce clash with officers who used pepper spray to clear demonstrators.
Last week, federal prosecutors arrested another four suspects for in connection with the effort to pull down the monument.
According to the complaint, CCTV footage clearly captured Charter at the scene wearing red ski goggles and a ventilator mask, the report said.
Included in the complaint is a tweet from an account under the name Jason Charter which declared: “Tearing down statues of traitors to the nation is a service to this nation not a crime.”
The suspect was also seen on local TV news footage pouring flammable liquid on a toppled statue of Albert Pike in downtown DC and is alleged to have assaulted someone at another demonstration calling for the removal of a statue honoring Abraham Lincoln in Washington’s Lincoln Park.
Trump last month signed an order promising to crack down and seek 10-year prison terms for protesters who deface or topple controversial statues following civil unrest over the police killing of George Floyd.
Floyd’s death has lead to nationwide calls for the renaming of institutions named after Confederate leaders or other famous Americans involved in the slave trade, an issue which the president does not support.
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