County attorney pursuing ‘restorative process,’ not jail, for man who toppled Columbus statue

The prosecuting attorney's office told Alpha News that jail time is not possible for the man who toppled Minnesota's Columbus statue — despite what's written in state law.

Image credit: Twitter via @thauserkstp

The man who toppled the statue of Christopher Columbus that stood outside the Minnesota State Capitol will be subjected to a specially developed “restorative process” rather than traditional punishment.

On June 10, a group of vandals affiliated with the American Indian Movement (AIM) destroyed the statue of Christopher Columbus. Although state officials knew the attack was slated to occur, they did nothing to prevent it. Now, nearly two months after the fact, the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office says the organizer of the vandalism, Michael Anthony Forcia, will likely not face jail time.

“We are working on developing a restorative process to give voice to those divergent opinions and bring people who hold them together to determine how best we hold Mr. Forcia accountable while healing our community from the harm that was caused,” Ramsey County Attorney John Choi said in a statement provided to Alpha News.

“The restorative process allows for all voices related to this incident to be heard and perhaps a greater outcome achieved that [sic] punishment of one individual,” the statement continued.

Choi also claimed that his “restorative justice” is better than “an adversarial trial that would not provide adequate closure for our community and likely create additional division.”

The attorney’s office told Alpha News “that the traditional, punitive path does not include incarceration for this type of offense.” However, the office also said that Forcia has been charged with felony first-degree property damage. This charge can earn a defendant five years in prison or a $10,000 fine under Minnesota Statutes 609.595, contrary to the office’s statement.

Forcia’s vandalism caused $154,000 in damage to government property, according to the statement from the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office. He can be seen in the lower left of the camera’s view during the first 20 seconds of the video below.