A man accused of scrawling a message on the Lincoln Memorial with spray paint is facing 10 years in prison.
Micah Avery, 26, a District of Columbia resident, described as a black male, was indicted this week on charges of destruction of federal property.
“Defacing one of our country’s national monuments will not be tolerated,” Acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Michael Sherwin said in a statement.
According to a criminal complaint, U.S. Park Police officers on May 30 saw Avery graffiti the words “Yall not tired yet?” with black spray paint on the Lincoln Memorial, a monument to former President Abraham Lincoln.
Officers chased down Avery and handcuffed him. They found a spray paint can in his pocket.
In the wake of last night’s demonstrations, there are numerous instances of vandalism to sites around the National Mall. For generations the Mall has been our nation’s premier civic gathering space for non-violent demonstrations, and we ask individuals to carry on that tradition. pic.twitter.com/LmIHfW2AHj
— National Mall NPS (@NationalMallNPS) May 31, 2020
Officers also removed an iPhone from Avery. They saw a message pop up on the locked phone that read “I think they saw you tag,” an apparent reference to the graffiti.
Avery resisted being placed in a patrol car.
A crowd converged on the officers and people in it began striking and pushing them. During the melee, Avery broke free and ran away.
He was located shortly thereafter by other officers back at the memorial, still wearing the handcuffs.
Avery faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 for the destruction charges.
Federal law outlines the penalties for destruction of government property in cases property damage exceeds $100.
The damage to the Lincoln Memorial was estimated to cost $1,000 to repair.
President Donald Trump emphasized the law and similar laws in a new executive order, which directed federal law enforcement to “prosecute to the fullest extent” anyone that “destroys, damages, vandalizes, or desecrates a monument, memorial, or statue within the United States.”