Vandals attempted to tear down a statue of Andrew Jackson in Lafayette Park near the White House on Monday, June 22. The same night, vandals (again) defaced the historic St. John’s Episcopal Church by spray painting the letters BHAZ on the white pillars supporting the church.
BHAZ is an acronym for Black House Autonomous Zone, an attempted recreation of CHAZ (Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone which is now also known as CHOP) which was set up in Seattle, Washington.
On Monday evening, dozens of vandals gathered around the statue of Andrew Jackson in the park, just a short distance away from the White House. They defaced the monument, writing “Killer” on the base of it, and also climbed on the statue, tied ropes around it and tried to pull it down.
NBC News reported that the U.S. Park Police, Washington, D.C.’s Metropolitan Police Department and the Secret Service showed up shortly after to protect the statue and successfully removed the protesters with the aid of pepper spray, batons and shields. Police then created a perimeter around the statue to prevent its destruction.
The Jackson statue was “defaced by criminals who sought to topple the statue recognizing the seventh President of the United States,” Interior Secretary David L. Bernhardt said in a statement. “Law enforcement officers ensured that this would not happen.”
According to The White House Historical Association, the statue, which has stood since 1853, was built in part with the help of a slave named Phillip Reid. While it’s unknown exactly what Reid did to help build the statue, it’s clear he made the project possible.
The Congressional Records also grant Reid credit for helping built the Statue of Freedom, which currently sits atop the dome of the U.S. Capitol. “Much credit is due him for his faithful and intelligent services rendered in modeling and casting America’s superb Statue of Freedom,” the records state.
In response to the recent spate of vandals tearing or attempting to tear down statues, President Trump tweeted on Tuesday that he would be authorizing the federal government to protect the historic monuments.
“I have authorized the Federal Government to arrest anyone who vandalizes or destroys any monument, statue or other such Federal property in the U.S. with up to 10 years in prison, per the Veteran’s Memorial Preservation Act, or such other laws that may be pertinent,” the president tweeted. “This action is taken effective immediately but may also be used retroactively for destruction or vandalism already caused. There will be no exceptions!”
The president is expected to sign an executive order protecting monuments by the end of this week.
As of publishing time, Joe Biden’s campaign had not responded to a request for comment from The Daily Citizen.
St. John’s Episcopal Church was vandalized previously on May 31, when rioters set fire to the basement of the church. Fire fighters, aided by police, promptly responded to the blaze and extinguished the fire.
Regarding the BHAZ, President Trump tweeted, “There will never be an ‘Autonomous Zone’ in Washington, D.C., as long as I’m your president. If they try, they will be met with serious force!”
Twitter subsequently applied a warning label to the president’s tweet, claiming that the tweet violated their rules on “abusive behavior.” This warning label still allows the tweet to be viewed, but prohibits anyone from liking, retweeting or commenting on the tweet.
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