Two arrested in connection with Confederate statue vandalism

KNWA

BENTONVILLE, Ark. (KNWA) — Two are accused of vandalizing the Confederate statue in the historic Bentonville Square.

Jeremy Ordaz and Laura Hammarstrom are each facing felony first-degree criminal mischief.

Jeremy Ordaz
Courtesy: Benton County Sheriff’s Office

Ordaz and Hammarstrom are accused of breaking the bottom of the statue’s musket.

The two are set to appear in court in January.

Late Sunday, Sept. 22, an officer was patrolling the Bentonville Square and saw a crowd around the statue.

As the officer approached the crowd, he noticed a man, with a bandana covering his face, leave on a mountain bike, according to court documents. He also saw a woman, later identified as Hammarstrom, standing on a pedestal near the statue.

The crowd told the officer that the man, later identified as Ordaz, swung a sledgehammer in an attempt to move the crowd, the documents state.

Hammarstrom reportedly told the officer she vandalized the statue and takes full responsibility for her alleged actions. She also reportedly told the officer she was “trying to tear down the statue” because it offended her. She explained to the officer she’s tried to have it removed for the past five years, according to the documents.

The officer noted in the documents that she smelled of alcohol.

A witness told police she saw the two damage the statue, the documents state.

Hammarstrom was not arrested in connection with the damaged statue that night. The next day, she told police she wouldn’t speak with them. Prosecutors subpoenaed people she was with that night to the Benton County Prosecutor’s Office. Ordaz’s name was mentioned during interviews, according to the documents.

Police contacted Ordaz in September. Ordaz said he would speak with them after he was off work, but a month went by without any contact with him, according to the documents. A warrant was issued for his arrest.

The two were arrested Nov. 21.

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