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Two activists arrested in Jackson statue vandalism

Two people were arrested early Thursday and charged with vandalizing the statue of Confederate Gen. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, Charlottesville police said.

Jesse Tobias Beard, 44, and Nicolas McCarthy-Rivera, 31, both of Charlottesville, were arrested at the statue at about 3:25 a.m.

Both are charged with felony vandalism and misdemeanor trespassing, according to police.

No estimate of damages is currently available, according to Charlottesville Commonwealth’s Attorney Joe Platania, but Virginia law classifies vandalism as a Class 6 felony if the value of damage to the property, memorial or monument is $1,000 or more.

The statue has been vandalized at least three times since October, when portions of the faces of figures on the statue’s base were chiseled off. The base was spray-painted earlier this month.

Anyone with information about the vandalism cases is asked to call the Charlottesville Police Department at (434) 970-3280 or Crime Stoppers at (434) 977-4000.

McCarthy-Rivera and Beard both have been involved in anti-racism efforts surrounding the aftermath of the 2017 Unite the Right rally.

Beard was found guilty of obstructing free passage related to an incident on the anniversary of the Unite the Right rally on 2018, according to court records.

The Virginia State Police said he deliberately positioned himself in front of police motorcycle units that were “attempting to provide safe passage for a group of demonstrators.”

McCarthy-Rivera was similarly arrested in 2018 while protesting the conviction of a black man charged with disorderly conduct for using an improvised flamethrower to deter advancing white supremacists during the rally. He was found guilty for a traffic violation, along with several other activists.


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