Santa Fe mayor criticized for city's response to obelisk being torn down | KOB 4

Santa Fe mayor criticized for city's response to obelisk being torn down

Kai Porter
Updated: October 13, 2020 05:14 PM
Created: October 13, 2020 03:40 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- Metal barriers surround what is left of the obelisk on the Santa Fe Plaza.

The structure was torn down Monday by protesters who believe it was offensive to Native Americans. 


Santa Fe Mayor Alan Webber is facing criticism and tough questions from some city councilors about his response to the act of destruction.

"So now I think all of us are getting the wrath of people on both sides that think we didn’t do enough or didn’t do anything and people that were happy with what’s being done today, which is violent and obstructive," Santa Fe City Councilor Vigil Coppler said at an emergency meeting Monday night.

In a late night news release, the city said six officers were assigned to the plaza to monitor what was billed as a "peaceful protest."

However, the event turned violent. The city said two officers were attacked. Following the attack, all the officers left the plaza to gather resources and collaborate with other law enforcement agencies.
KOB 4 requested an interview with Santa Fe Police Chief Andrew Padilla, but a spokesperson said KOB 4 would have to contact the mayor's office.

KOB 4 visited City Hall, but the doors were locked. The entire building is closed because of COVID.

Multiple calls to the city's spokesperson were not returned until around 1 p.m. That's when KOB 4 was told the mayor and the police chief would give an update about the obelisk at 4:15 p.m. on YouTube. 

"Our officers were staffing that event, as I mentioned earlier, the situation rapidly evolved. They called and asked for more officers on duty. While they were doing that, the officers were tackled, punched, shoved," Chief Padilla said. "Supervisor made the decision to pull out of the plaza and not to go interact with anyone else unless someone's life was in danger. At this time was preservation over life, over property. I stand by that commander's decision, and that is the right decision."

The city asked for news organizations to provide questions in advance. However, the format of the update did not allow for follow-up questions.

Two people were arrested during the protest. Santa Fe police are asking for help identifying anyone who helped tear down the obelisk. 

Copyright 2020 - KOB-TV LLC, A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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