Beauregard spray painter collared

New Orleans police's Nicholas Gernon arrests man accused of spray painting the pedestal to the removed monument to P.G.T. Beauregard on Wednesday, May 17, 2017. (Photo by New Orleans Advocate staff member Dan Swenson)

New Orleans police on Wednesday morning arrested two man accused of spray painting the pedestal of the statue of P.G.T. Beauregard, dismantled hours earlier.

Michael Kimball, 57, and Christopher Kimball, 31, a father and son from Norco in St. Charles Parish, were booked on counts of criminal damage to a historic landmark or building by defacing with graffiti, police said. 

The Kimballs were arrested after New Orleans Police Department Commander Nicholas Gernon spotted them spray painting the words "Gen. Beauregard CSA" in red on the base where the general's statue sat for more than a century. Beauregard was a general for the Confederate army during the Civil War.

Gernon collared Christopher Kimball. New Orleans patrol officers helped arrest Michael Kimball after witnesses saw him spray painting the other side of the pedestal, police said.  

Gernon commands the city's 8th Police District, which patrols the French Quarter and surrounding areas. 

In Louisiana, criminal damage to landmarks or historic buildings can carry two years in prison as well as a $1,000 fine. 

Beauregard's monument was taken down about 3 a.m. Wednesday, after a seven-hour effort involving a hulking yellow crane. The dismantling followed the city's recent removals of monuments to Confederate President Jefferson Davis and to a white supremacist militia.

A monument to Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee is also slated for removal. 

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu successfully pushed for the monuments' removal in 2015, after a white supremacist killed nine people at a black church in Charleston, South Carolina. Following a lengthy court battle with supporters of the monuments, the city began removing the memorials last month. 

Follow Ramon Antonio Vargas on Twitter, @RVargasAdvocate.

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