It’s been two weeks since a Christopher Columbus statue was toppled outside the Minnesota Capitol, but the Minnesota Department of Public Safety said the investigation remains ongoing.
A spokesperson for the agency told KSTP chief political reporter Tom Hauser that the “investigation continues as the [Bureau of Criminal Apprehension] works to identify other participants in the incident, beyond the leader.”
“Once the BCA’s investigation is complete, it will be turned over to the Ramsey County Attorney for consideration of charges related to destruction of property,” the spokesperson told Hauser.
"Once the BCA’s investigation is complete, it will be turned over to the Ramsey County Attorney for consideration of charges related to destruction of public property."
— Tom Hauser (@thauserkstp) June 24, 2020
The incident took place on June 10 in broad daylight and was recorded by countless news stations and reporters. Mike Forcia, chairman of the American Indian Movement (AIM), said at the time that he informed Gov. Tim Walz’s office of the group’s plan to tear down the statue.
“I reached out to the mayor’s office this morning. I reached out to the governor’s office and told them exactly what we were going to do because several people wanted to do it in the dark of night, come over here and pull him down. See, he was put up in broad daylight with 24,000 people here and they celebrated and it should be taken down the same way, in broad daylight and celebrated. And that’s exactly what happened,” said Forcia.
He even said he expected to be arrested imminently and was told by the State Patrol that he would face criminal charges. Hauser reported last week that no charges had been filed in the matter.
UPDATE: Six days after a statue of Christopher Columbus on the MN State Capitol grounds was torn down by protesters…and 5 days after the governor said those responsible would be held “accountable,” no charges have been filed. The entire crime was documented by many cameras. pic.twitter.com/GX3gI3rSjW
— Tom Hauser (@thauserkstp) June 16, 2020
As The Minnesota Sun reported, Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan welcomed the removal of the statue in a June 10 statement.
“I can’t say I’m sad the statue of Christopher Columbus is gone. I’m not,” she said. “The arrival of Christopher Columbus to what is now the Americas set in motion centuries of violence and genocide against the Indigenous people who already lived here. As the highest-ranking Native woman elected to executive office in the country, I have often reflected on the fact that I could see a statue honoring that legacy from my office window.”
The Minnesota Catholic Conference, the public policy arm of the Catholic Church in Minnesota, told LifeSite News Wednesday that the statue should be “restored to public view.”
“The negligent failure by public officials and safety officers to protect the Christopher Columbus statue – a statue erected to celebrate greater inclusiveness of Italians in Minnesota – should be a cause of concern for all Minnesotans, regardless of their views on Columbus himself,” said Jason Adkins, executive director of the group.
“The celebration by many in the community of the statue’s lawless removal also shows the prevalence of fake history. Columbus is not a canonized saint, but he is not a villain, either. As described by Pope Leo XIII, his motives were [exemplary], and it was an extraordinary achievement to connect the peoples of two hemispheres,” he added. “To say Columbus was a perpetrator of genocide makes a mockery of the term.”
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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of The Minnesota Sun and The Ohio Star. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Christopher Columbus Statue Destroyed” by Tony Webster. CC BY-SA 2.0.