No new charges coming from violent Oñate clash; City Council waits to decide statue's fate | KOB 4

No new charges coming from violent Oñate clash; City Council waits to decide statue's fate

Ryan Laughlin
Updated: January 11, 2021 06:12 PM
Created: January 11, 2021 05:58 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The fate of an Oñate statue that once stood outside the Albuquerque Museum is still on hold even though a criminal investigation has concluded.  

The La Jornada sculpture, installed in 2005, was meant to commemorate the 400-year anniversary of the arrival of Spanish settlers. However, the statue became a flashpoint during a violent protest over the summer. 

"That piece is very complicated because there's pieces to it,” said Albuquerque City Councilwoman Cynthia Borrego. 

Council President Borrego sponsored a resolution for the city to wait to make a decision on what to do with the pieces of the sculpture until the criminal investigation was completed. 

Steven Ray Baca was charged for the shooting that occurred at the Oñate protest, but Borrego said she needs more information. 

"That we do not decommission any pieces of the structure until such time that we receive a report back from the district attorney's office,” she said. 

Borrego said people need to face consequences for violating public property. 

"It's a simple question, I mean, we're talking—I'm going to give you an example. If I went to city hall and I spray-painted city hall, let's just say. You know, or I destroyed part of city hall, I would have to pay consequences for government property, right?" she said.

Despite there being chains and a pickaxe at the protest, city officials said there was no significant damage done to the statue.

"It was a piece of public property that was violated and at this point in time I don't know if we have complete information,” Councilwoman Borrego said. 

Borrego said she will defer the resolution for 60 days because now is not the right time for the council to take up the issue. 

According to the district attorney’s office, no law enforcement agency has referred any public destruction of property charges to them.

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