Fox23 reports an Arizona man, arrested on suspicion of defacing a Confederate memorial at the state Capitol, said he acted alone and did it to protest racism and inspire protesters, authorities said.
Sean Brennan, 29, of Phoenix, was arrested Friday near a Juneteenth celebration and charged with abuse of a monument and aggravated criminal damage/defacing a cemetery, KNXV reported. According to authorities, Brennan doused the stone monument with red paint, the television station reported.
— Adam Waltz (@Adam_Waltz) June 20, 2020
“I don’t want anyone to think that it was, like, the protesters who did it and take it out on them,” Brennan told KTVK. “It was done before them, certainly, but not by them.
“I did the right thing, I did the moral thing, it just wasn’t the legal thing. We cannot memorialize racism.”
Per AZCentral, during the Friday evening protest against the killings of men and women by police, demonstrators gathered around the statue and told everyone to post a photo with the hashtag #tearitdown. At some point, it was doused with red paint.
DPS spokesperson Capt. Jesse Galvez said Sean Brennan was arrested for the defacement late Friday afternoon, though he could not confirm Brennan’s age or whether he was directly involved in the protest.
Brennan was facing at least one charge of criminal damage, Galvez said.
The memorial was a gift from the United Daughters of the Confederacy in the early 1960s. Gov. Doug Ducey on June 11 said he would like a “public process” to decide the monument’s fate but has not commented further since then.
Ducey did not elaborate on what such a public process should entail. His statement marked a slight adjustment from previous years in his position on the issue of Confederate monuments.
Statues memorializing the Confederacy are coming down across the nation amid ongoing protests and a national reckoning with the legacy of the Civil War. Some protesters have even taken matters into their own hands, toppling Confederate statues and monuments in various cities.
The Arizona Department of Administration power washed the monument Saturday to remove the paint from the monument, Galvez said.