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Valley man arrested for defacing Confederate monument with red paint

Posted at 9:49 PM, Jun 22, 2020

A Phoenix man is facing the possibility of years in prison for splashing red paint on a Confederate monument outside the State Capitol.

Sean Brennan, 29, was arrested near a Juneteenth celebration and charged with abuse of a monument and aggravated criminal damage/defacing a cemetery.

"The criminal damage felony is a little ridiculous," said Brennan. "The cop who interrogated me said, it's not like I took a sledgehammer to it. I didn't even damage anything."

The red paint that covered the monument was quickly power washed off the next day, but the charges and court proceedings will play out for months.

RELATED: Phoenix Confederate monument defaced with paint; Apache Junction area monument damaged

It did not take long for troopers to determine who defaced the monument. They caught Brennan red-handed.

"Literally," he said. "I had known it going into it that there was a 99% chance I was going to get caught, with all the cameras down there and everything, and that's what happened."

Brennan said he was confronted minutes after he walked away.

"Five DPS SUVs rolled up," said Brennan "I ended up spending 12 hours overnight in jail."

Troopers noted that at the time of his arrest, Brennan had red paint on his arms and his shoes.

"It was absolutely worth it, because the protesters showed up about half an hour later and saw it, and rallied around it," said Brennan, referring to the crowd from the nearby Juneteenth celebration that congregated around the defaced monument Friday evening.

In this season of rallies and marches, protesters across the country have once again pushed to have Confederate monuments removed from public spaces.

"Personally, I would like it removed and destroyed," said Brennan.

Some argue the changes are "erasing" history. Others, like Brennan, say public exhibits memorializing the Confederacy simply glorify the side that fought to uphold slavery.

"The last thing [Gov. Ducey] said was he will leave it up to the public. But nothing is happening," said Brennan. "And [the conversation] keeps going away, so I didn't want to go away."

Given the current climate, the debate over Confederate monuments will likely not disappear anytime soon.

What's less clear: will the memorial in Wesley Bolin be removed?