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Police: 7 Arrested After Statues Vandalized in Downtown Miami

Miami Police say seven people were arrested for vandalizing statues of Christopher Columbus and Juan Ponce de León in the city.

The arrests took place after a confrontation between protesters and police.

The altercation reportedly happened after demonstrators spray-painted statues of Columbus and León in Bayfront Park, near Bayside Marketplace, with the letters “George Floyd,” “BLM,” along with a hammer and sickle.

Authorities say only three of the people were wanted for the vandalism.

“We gave the order, officers went in, arrested these three people. However, the crowd then turned on us,” Miami police Officer Michael Vega explains.

The suspects arrested Wednesday were identified as Jason Lewis, 30, of Miami; Christian Diaz, 25, of Miami; Manuel Roman, 29, of Miami Beach; Edwin Guzman, 20, of Lake Worth; Alaa Ali Massri, 18, of Miami Beach; Joseph Martinez II, 28, of Miami; and Stephon Lin, 20, of Fort Worth, Texas.

They are facing numerous charges, including unlawful assembly to commit a breach of peace, resisting an officer, disorderly conduct, aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, incite to riot and criminal mischief.

Police say their officers were assaulted, and their patrol car was damaged at the scene.

“In the City of Miami, we support peaceful protests but there will be zero tolerance for those who hide behind the peaceful protesters to incite riots, damage property, and hurt members of the public or our officers,” the police department said in a statement.