Columbus Statue Vandal Suspect Is a Public School Teacher

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Posted: Jun 14, 2020 4:00 PM
Columbus Statue Vandal Suspect Is a Public School Teacher

Source: AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews

A public school teacher in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, is accused of vandalizing a statue of Christopher Columbus. 

Around 1:30 a.m. local time on Saturday, police observed two individuals exit a vehicle and throw paint on a statue of Christopher Columbus near Columbus Square. City officials had wisely boarded up the statue after observing leftists vandalizing statues all over the country. The two suspects then fled the scene towards a vehicle waiting in a nearby lot. Police caught up to the vehicle and took three individuals into custody, the two suspects and the driver. Police reportedly found an open container of white and purple paint, rubber gloves, and several masks in the backseat area. 

The two suspects were identified as 34-year-old Derrick Garforth, a public school teacher, and 28-year-old Charlotte Whittingham. The driver was identified as 26-year-old Mackenzie Innis. To their credit, the suspects didn't assault the officers or try and shoot the cops with their own tasers, so they were safely arrested without incident. All three individuals are now charged with the desecration of a grave/monument, a felony. Meanwhile, the mobs tearing down statues all over the country, including ones of abolitionists, like Matthias Baldwin, remain at large.

Garforth works as a teacher at Joseph Jenks Junior High School in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. Hopefully, he teaches art, not history. 

The superintendent of the Pawtucket School Department, Dr. Cheryl McWilliams, told ABC6 News, "I have just learned about this and the School Department is investigating it." So it sounds like they're taking it very seriously.