By Associated Press - Thursday, November 5, 2020

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - Two people accused of destroying a monument in New Mexico that had stood at the center of Santa Fe’s historic Plaza for more than 150 years have been charged, authorities said.

The Santa Fe Police Department announced Wednesday that Lily Sage Schweitzer, 33, and Ryan Witt, 29, each face multiple charges including criminal damage to property, criminal trespass and unlawful assembly. Witt was also charged with unauthorized graffiti.

Online court records didn’t list attorneys for Witt and Schweitzer who could comment on the allegations on their behalf. Deputy Chief Ben Valdez said neither suspect has been arrested as of Wednesday night, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported.

“Those who think they can take a piece of history and destroy it need to be held accountable,” Santa Fe Mayor Alan Webber said in a statement.

Demonstrators at a rally on Indigenous Peoples Day last month took over the Soldiers’ Monument. They used ropes and chains to pull down the obelisk, which some view as a symbol of the oppression of Native Americans. The obelisk was originally dedicated to Union soldiers who fought Civil War battles in New Mexico and featured an inscription that honored the “heroes” who had fought against “savage Indians.”

The word “savage” was previously chiseled away in the 1970s, the Albuquerque Journal reported.

Police previously arrested two Santa Fe men following the demonstration. Other suspects have been identified and are expected to face charges for their involvement in the incident, authorities said.

The case remains under investigation.

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