Man charged over the removal of Columbus statue outside State Capitol

It follows an extensive investigation by the BCA and Ramsey County Attorney.
Author:
Publish date:

Authorities have announced that a man has been charged in connection with the removal of the Christopher Columbus statue outside the Minnesota State Capitol in June.

The Ramsey County Attorney's Office revealed Thursday that Michael Forcia, 56, of New Brighton, is facing one county of felony criminal damage to property over the June 10 incident.

It comes after the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA), the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office conducted an "extensive" investigation into the incident, putting together a 13,000-page investigative file.

According to the attorney's office, Forcia, a member of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, acknowledged at the time that he wanted to be held accountable for the statue being pulled down, with the investigation finding he was the "organizer, leader, and executor of the incident."

Forcia had called the statue a "symbol of genocide," and while its removal was not mourned by members of the Native American community in Minnesota, among them Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan, members of the Republican Party have long been calling for consequences for those involved in the statue's removal.

Ramsey County Attorney John Choi suggested his office would be seeking a restorative punishment for Forcia.

"Given the impact of this action on residents across our state and the divisive reactions it has engendered, we believe administering justice in this case requires an extraordinary step – the active engagement and participation of our community,” said Ramsey County Attorney John Choi.

"We are working on developing a restorative process to give voice to those divergent opinions and bring people who hold them together to determine how best we hold Mr. Forcia accountable while healing our community from the harm that was caused."

"By employing restorative principles in a way that unites rather than divides us, we have a greater opportunity to achieve true justice for our community, to respond more meaningfully and in due time, rather than waiting more than a year for an adversarial trial that would not provide adequate closure for our community and likely create additional division. The pursuit of justice should always seek to unite a community rather than divide it."

Forcia identified himself at the scene of the statue as the chairman of the American Indian Movement Patrol Minneapolis.

The criminal complaint says state troopers were also at the scene and informed protesters about the correct process for removing a statue, but were told by protesters that they had already gone through that process with little joy.

"His stated hope was to have the statue removed as part of a larger effort to teach others about racism," according to Choi's office, which added that Forcia "declined to name others involved in the protest on June 10."

Sign up for our BREAKING NEWS newsletters

Next Up

Governor Tim Walz

As CDC urges Michigan to shut down, Gov. Walz watches closely

Walz says there are no imminent plans to dial back.

ambulance

Man, 26, collapses and dies at event center shortly after altercation

The incident was reported Saturday night in Stearns County.

Allina Crossroads Campus

Allina Health will reopen Buffalo clinic after fatal mass shooting

A timeline about when the clinic will reopen hasn't been released.

Walz

Walz: No state-issued curfew Tuesday night

Local municipalities can declare their own curfews.

covid, vaccine

Minnesota advises health providers pause Johnson & Johnson vaccines

Federal health officials have recommended the pause to review treatment of an extremely rare blot clot.

Target Field Twins

Twins will play Tuesday; doubleheader set for Wednesday

Fans at Wednesday's first game can stay for the second game for free.

Pope Francis

Minnesota bishop resigns at the request of Pope Francis

Pope Francis accepted Rev. Michael Hoeppner's resignation Tuesday.

Screen Shot 2021-04-12 at 12.05.47 PM

Washington County to decide charges against officer who killed Daunte Wright

Hennepin County Mike Freeman sent the case to Washington County per a new practice among metro area county attorneys.

covid, vaccine

Faribault, Martin counties struggle to fill vaccine appointments

The counties have opened up appointments to nonresidents.

Related

Screen Shot 2020-06-10 at 5.14.59 PM

Columbus statue pulled down outside Minnesota State Capitol

It was the work of the American Indian Movement.

christopher columbus statue

MN lawmaker compares removal of Columbus statue to 'lynching'

State Rep. Steve Drazkowski represents House District 21B.

christopher columbus statue

Man who led protest to topple Columbus statue gets community service

This came following a restorative justice process that explored the underlying reasons and impact of the statue's illegal removal.

Man, 21, charged over brutal attack outside Minnesota State Fair

The victim was left brain damaged and requires near constant care.

christopher columbus statue

Walz: There will be 'consequences' for those who pulled down Columbus statue

He stressed there's a need for a process to get art removed from the Capitol.