Heavyweight veteran Jeff Monson has been charged with first-degree malicious mischief in Olympia, Washington after a photograph of the former UFC fighter tagging the Washington State Capitol with an anarchy symbol was published in the December installment of ESPN the Magazine.
The Olympian broke news of the charge yesterday:
A warrant for Monson’s arrest was filed today in Thurston County Superior Court. Monson, 37, is charged with first-degree malicious mischief, a Class B felony carrying a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine.
The graffiti cost $19,000 to clean up, court papers state.
Police have sought the people responsible for spray-painting graffiti on columns on the north side of the Capitol on Nov. 26. The graffiti included anarchy symbols, a peace symbol and phrases such as “no war” and “no poverty.”
According to court papers, a State Patrol and an Olympia police detective recognized Monson as the source of the graffiti on surveillance footage captured by a camera at the Capitol, but the break in the case occurred after ESPN The Magazine published an article on Monson and his political views Dec. 29.
“Every great movement in the United States, from civil rights, women’s rights, the labor movement, has been the result of people standing up and breaking the law, refusing to stand at the back of the bus, refusing to stand aside when the government asks you to get off their property,” Monson said. “And now, these people are seen as pioneers. But at the time, they were criminals — they were literally criminals. I’m not here to advocate for myself; at some point you have to stand up.”
Monson said he had heard only 20 minutes earlier that the State Patrol was looking for him in Olympia. He said he is going to contact State Patrol, but he’s not sure what he’s going to do.