Friday, 25 Sep 2020

Civil War monument at Colorado Capitol toppled overnight – The Denver Post

The Civil War monument erected in 1909 outside Colorado’s Capitol that commemorated, in part, the Sand Creek Massacre was toppled overnight, the latest act by protesters across the nation to tear down statues honoring perpetrators of racist acts.

Trooper Gary Cutler, spokesman for Colorado State Patrol, which polices the Capitol grounds, said “individuals” brought the statue down around 1:30 a.m. Thursday.

The Denver Police Department took over the investigation, with spokesman Doug Schepman saying they are reviewing surveillance camera footage of the incident, but currently have no suspects or any individuals in custody.

“It’s too early to have further context on what the intent was or who the individuals were,” Schepman said, adding that the act of tearing down a statue would be classified as “criminal mischief,” similar to vandalism or graffiti.

At the very least, “It was up yesterday and it was down today,” said Doug Platt, communications manager at the state’s Department of Personnel and Administration, which maintains the grounds and building.

The base of the monument is covered in graffiti — “Defund cops,” “Denver where are you?” — but Cutler said he didn’t know whether it was fresh or left over from the demonstrations that have taken place at the Capitol in the weeks since the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis sparked a nationwide movement for racial justice and police reform.

Platt also said he believes this is the first statue to be toppled during the protests since Floyd’s death, but said “just about everything in the complex has been vandalized.”

A little after 9 a.m. Thursday, work crews used construction equipment to remove the fallen statue from the Capitol grounds. Platt said he does yet not know if the statue will be put back up.

The statue on the west side of the Capitol portrays a Union soldier, and not, as some have believed, Col. John Chivington, who led the 1864 massacre of Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians in what is now Kiowa County.

It includes a commemoration of 22 battles and names 279 soldiers who died, but only 18 of those battles were against Confederate soldiers. Four of them were against American Indians, with the final battle listed being Sand Creek — which was a massacre of Indians by U.S. Army soldiers, not a battle.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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