Saturday, October 31, 2020

Man Charged With Felony for Vandalizing Confederate Statue

By Alyssa Schnugg
News editor

University of Mississippi graduate Zachary Borenstein has been charged with vandalizing the Confederate statue on campus. Photo by Anna Grace Usery.

University of Mississippi graduate Zachary Borenstein has been arrested and charged with vandalizing the Confederate statue located in front of the Lyceum circle on Saturday.

According to the Mobile Patrol app, Borenstein, 38, was charged with destroying public property more than $300 (in damages), which is a felony charge.

In a video on Facebook, Borenstein is seen being detained by the University Police Department and explaining his reasons for defacing the statue, comparing the Confederacy to Nazi Germany.

“The United States doesn’t need to make monuments to the Confederacy – a monument that makes people feel unsafe and that breeds violence,” he told the UPD officers.

UPD responded to the statue at about 4:45 p.m. and arrested Borenstein who was still at the scene. The statue had the words, “spiritual genocide” spray-painted in black on all sides. According to local news reports, Borenstein allegedly cut his hand to create bloody handprints on the statue.

A GoFundMe has been set up to help Borenstein with his bail which has not yet been set. He will go before a Justice Court judge who will set the bail. The GoFundMe has already raised close to $10,000 as of Sunday afternoon.

In February, Borenstein wrote an opinion column in The Daily Mississippian calling for the end of calling the university “Ole Miss” due to its connection to slavery.

The vandalism took place around the same time as a peaceful protest on the Oxford Square that was held in response to the death of Minneapolis man, George Floyd. Former MPD officer Dereck Chauvin has been charged with third-degree manslaughter.

This is a developing story. Check with for updates.