It appears that those in positions of power in Minnesota knew of and encouraged the plan to vandalize the statue of Christopher Columbus that used to sit outside the State Capitol.
Governor Tim Walz and those in his inner circle knew about the plan hatched by left wing activists to destroy the statue of Columbus. However, instead of deploying police to protect the icon that was destroyed on Wednesday afternoon, the Walz administration and those close to it promoted hatred of Columbus and publicly entertained the idea that the statue should be removed.
The timeline of events leading up to the statue’s destruction first publicly intersects with those close to the governor around 10:00am on Wednesday with a tweet from the Lieutenant Governor’s husband.
“Minnesota, we need to talk about our Columbus monument,” he wrote, linking a two year old article that advocates the destruction of Columbus related imagery.
— Tom Weber (@webertom1) June 10, 2020
Around 4:00pm during a press conference, a reporter asked Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington if he was aware of the growing threat that individuals may try to harm the statue.
Harrington acknowledged the this likelihood about 18 minutes into the press confrence and promised that Colonel Matt Langer, the Chief of State Patrol, would meet the group of activists by the statue to discuss legal alternatives to vandalism. Harrington said specifically that he was aware of the threats against the monument levied via social media.
Per the Safety Commissioner, Langer was supposed to “explain to them the process that is already in existence for if you want to have a statue or you want to have something removed from the Capitol grounds, there is a lawful process for doing that. And we will be out there to meet with them to have that conversation,” he said.
Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington and the Walz admin acknowledged the threat to the statue and tacitly encouraged the idea that it should be removed. pic.twitter.com/JZxEx2sixn
— Kyle Hooten (@KyleHooten2) June 11, 2020
Walz then took the podium and said that “we should” kindle a renewed interest in the appropriateness of Columbus statues.
By 5:00pm, a group of individuals associated with the American Indian Movement (AIM) toppled the statue with zero apparent interference from police.
After the statue was ripped from its podium, the man who lead the effort and who helped attach the ropes to the icon gave an interview that was recorded on an Alpha News live stream. During that interview, he revealed that AIM had previously spoken with the governor and lieutenant governor about removing the statue.
Only after the statue was torn down did the State Patrol visibly arrive on scene to remove it. A reporter who was there said she heard the vandalism’s organizer tell the crowd to stand down at that time. “I made a deal with them and I want to keep the deal,” the organizer said.
Patrol is about to remove Columbus statue now. Forcia, the protester who seems to be coordinating the event, asks people to peacefully move back and allow the officers to do so. “I made a deal with them and I want to keep the deal,” Forcia said. pic.twitter.com/PC2ZbeADpg
— Jessie Van Berkel (@jessvanb) June 10, 2020
Finally, around 10:00pm Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan posted a tweet giving her statement on the vandalism.
“I can’t say I’m sad the statue of Christopher Columbus is gone. I’m not,” she said.
All Minnesotans should feel welcome at the Minnesota State Capitol, and our state is long overdue for a hard look at the symbols, statues, and icons that were created without the input of many of our communities. pic.twitter.com/O7SP2jSAkm
— Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan (@LtGovFlanagan) June 11, 2020