Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal
SANTA FE – Two people are facing charges for their involvement in the destruction of the “Soldiers’ Monument” that had stood at the center of Santa Fe’s historic Plaza for the past 152-years, Santa Fe police announced Wednesday.
Police say that Lily Sage Schweitzer, 33, and Ryan Witt, 29, are each charged with criminal damage to property, criminal trespass, unlawful assembly, conspiracy and resisting or obstructing an officer. Witt is also charged with unauthorized graffiti.
“Those who think they can take a piece of history and destroy it need to be held accountable,” Mayor Alan Webber, who many blame for not doing enough to protect the monument, said in a statement. “I am grateful to the Police Department for their work and to the District Attorney’s office for their cooperation. Justice needs to be done.”
At an Indigenous Peoples Day rally last month, demonstrators overwhelmed police, and used ropes and chains to tear down the long-controversial obelisk, which many view as a symbol of oppression of Native Americans.
While originally dedicated to Union soldiers who fought Civil War battles in New Mexico, an inscription at the base of the spire once honored the “heroes” who died in battles against “savage Indians.” The word “savage” was chiseled away by an unknown Native American man in the 1970s.
Santa Fe police previously arrested two Santa Fe men, Sean Sunderland, 24, and Dylan Wrobel, 27, following the demonstration. According to court documents, during a skirmish between police and demonstrators, one officer was attempting to arrest Wrobel when Sunderland and others tried to knock the officer down. Wrobel is facing battery on a peace officer, resisting arrest and criminal trespass charges, while Sunderland is charged with resisting an officer and criminal trespass.
In a news release, Santa Fe Police Chief Andrew Padilla thanked community members for assisting the investigation by providing information and tips, and the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office and New Mexico State Police for helping to identify suspects.
Santa Fe Crime Stoppers is offering a $1,000 reward to anyone who provides information leading to the arrest and prosecution of others involved.
Anyone with information can contact Santa Fe police at 505-955-5286 or email Capt. Anthony Tapia at email@example.com.