Arizona man arrested for painting Confederate statue red, police say

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.

“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.”

While Brennan has participated in some protests in the Phoenix area over the past few weeks, he said he did not on Friday.

Brennan said he did not plan to participate in the Juneteenth activities in Phoenix on Friday, but said he decided to douse the statue even though he would be seen by many people -- including the police, KTVK reported.

“It was a calculated risk, and I knew that there was a 99% chance that I was going to get caught,” Brennan told the television station.

He was. Brennan was taken into custody by Arizona Department of Public Safety troopers moments later, KNXV reported.

“The criminal damage felony is a little ridiculous,” Brennan told the television station. “The cop who interrogated me said, it’s not like I took a sledgehammer to it. I didn’t even damage anything.”

The monument, a gift from the United Daughters of the Confederacy in the early 1960s, was cleaned with a power washer Saturday, KTVK reported.

Brennan said he had no regrets.

“If you need this monument in downtown Phoenix to teach you about racism then something’s clearly wrong with the education system,” Brennan told KTVK.