RICHMOND, Va. — Joseph Weindl issued a statement through his attorney saying he “deeply regrets” vandalizing the Jefferson Davis monument.
“Mr. Weindl will pay back his debt, and he remains committed to exploring positive and lawful channels to foster meaningful dialogue on both sides of this highly contentious issue,” wrote attorney Daniel Watkins, who recently represented UVa. student Martese Johnson in his case against the Alcohol Beverage Control.
This past weekend, a day after someone spray painted “Black Lives Matter” on the monument honoring the former president of the Confederate States of America, Weindl was arrested by local police for spray-painting the letter ‘L’ on the same monument.
Weindl was caught by police Friday night, around 10:30 p.m., after receiving a report of vandalism in progress at the Jefferson Davis Monument in the 2500 block of Monument Avenue.
Police said that by the time they arrived there was no vandalism in progress. Working with descriptions of the suspect and suspect vehicle provided by a witness and evidence obtained at the scene, detectives were able to identify Weindl.
Police arrested Weindl without incident, and he provided a full confession informing law enforcement that he used glow-in-the-dark spray paint to draw the letter ‘L,’ for loser, in what his attorney said was Weindl’s misguided attempt to highlight the ongoing discussions involving Confederate relics in the days after the tragic massacre at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina.
I spoke with Mr. Weindl at length regarding this incident. He deeply regrets what he did and he wants to apologize to the community for this criminal act. In fact, he does not believe that the statues memorializing Jefferson Davis and other Confederate leaders should be torn down. However, he wants to continue the conversation so that members of the community acknowledge that the continued existence of these memorials operates as a place of pain for some members of the community. He understands the unintended consequences that go with sanitizing this region’s history. Moving forward, Mr. Weindl hopes to partner with community stakeholders to find ways to honor our history by acknowledging the significant progress that has taken place.
Weindl has denied vandalizing the monument the previous night, when the phrase “Black Lives Matter” was spray-painted on the granite base of the monument.
That investigation remains open.
On June 29, 2015, police charged Mr. Weindl with intentionally defacing a public monument, a Class 1 misdemeanor. Police indicated that they will likely try to charge him with a felony, saying in a press release that the charge will be upgraded to a felony “when the cost of cleaning up the damage is shown to exceed $1,000.”