BCA submits charging recommendation for protesters who tore down Columbus statue to Ramsey County Attorney

One month after protesters tore down the Christopher Columbus statue at the Minnesota State Capitol, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension has presented their investigative file to the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office for a charging decision. 

Native American protesters with the group American Indian Movement tied two ropes to the statue's neck and pulled it down with no resistance from the Minnesota State Patrol, despite state officials acknowledging they had at least two hours' notice. The protesters said it was a healing moment because Columbus conquered, enslaved and killed Native people.

The 10-foot statue was a gift from Minnesota's Italians in 1931. It has stood on the south lawn of the Capitol, near the Minnesota Judicial Center, ever since.

Col. Matt Langer, chief of the Minnesota State Patrol, told state lawmakers Wednesday that the BCA has sent charging recommendations for three people involved in toppling the statue to the attorney's office. 

“When the discussion occurred if we should arrest those involved…word came back from the scene that colonel we don’t think that’s a good idea,” Langer said. “I said tell me why…they said because we are trying to protect the statue and get it out of here because the statue is the focal point of the group. We can certainly arrest one or two people…we think that’s going to enrage the rest of the group.” 

Dennis Gerhardstein, a spokesperson for the attorney's office, confirmed the the office has received the case from the BCA and said the office will make its charging decision public once they have “had adequate time to review the entire case investigation.” 

The statue would require $154,000 to repair should the state choose to repair it, according to a damage estimate.