The sixth individual charged for his alleged role in connection with the destruction of the obelisk in the Plaza was arraigned Tuesday in Santa Fe County Magistrate Court.

Local gallery owner Stephen Fox, 72, was allowed to stay out of jail on an unsecured bond of $2,500 during a hearing in front of Magistrate George Anaya Jr. on Tuesday morning.

Fox’s next hearing is scheduled for Dec. 23. He faces two fourth-degree felony charges of criminal damage to property over $1,000 and conspiracy to commit criminal damage to property over $1,000.

He also is charged with unlawful assembly, a petty misdemeanor.

Fox, who appeared by telephone, faces up to 18 months in jail and a $5,000 fine if convicted.

On Indigenous Peoples Day, Native American activists and their allies used rope and chain to pull down the 152-year-old Soldiers’ Monument following three days of protest on the Plaza. Erected to honor Union Civil War soldiers, the obelisk was long decried by activists as a symbol of racism due to a plaque at its base referring to “savage Indians.”

Fox has said he does not deny pulling the rope that ultimately destroyed the obelisk, and he has said he believes Santa Fe Mayor Alan Webber wanted the obelisk pulled down due to previous statements surrounding the controversial monument.

Fox sent a letter addressed to Anaya, Webber and Santa Fe police Chief Andrew Padilla on Nov. 25, seeking an “amicable” resolution to the case. In the letter, Fox appeared to admit to helping pull down the obelisk.

“When one of the forty or so activists handed me the rope, I gladly accepted, having been a native American art dealer for the past 40 years,” Fox wrote in the letter. “When they pulled, I pulled and that was that.”

Anaya admonished Fox for the letter Tuesday, calling the communication “inappropriate.”

“The court did not read that communication, and the court will not read that communication,” Anaya said. “It is not the court’s place to read it.”

“Oh, he has been advised,” Roderick T. Kennedy, Fox’s defense attorney, said in response.

Fox previously had said he intended to represent himself in the case.

Five other individuals face similar charges.

Lily Sage Schweitzer, 33, and Ryan Witt, 29, were the first two people arraigned, on Nov. 19, and were also released on unsecured bonds. Witt is listed as a Maryland resident, and Schweitzer is listed as being from Philadelphia.

Local tattoo artist Dawn Furlong was arraigned a day later and also was released on an unsecured bond.

Melissa Rose, a 44-year-old local Native American midwife, and her daughter Lauren Straily, 28, were arraigned Nov. 24 and released without bond.

Witt, Straily, Furlong and Rose also face unauthorized graffiti charges.

A seventh suspect, the first to have his image circulated in connection with the obelisk’s destruction, has not been identified or charged.

(48) comments

Lee Vigil

By the way, anyone else find it sorta ridiculous, ironic, maddening that the offending plaque remains, covered up by plywood, while the non-offending obelisk is destroyed? There were some real geniuses among the protesters. Mission accomplished? What a bunch of (&*U@!!!! Please go back to wherever you came from when you've served out your punishment and take the rest of your comrades with you!

Carlos Vasquez

you should go back to Sapin, except they wouldn't have you; so you're stuck here forced to face the reality of who you are - read the next piece bru...

Miranda Viscoli

The obelisk on the Santa Fe Plaza affirmed a non-Native supremacist social structure that served the self-interest of non-Natives in order to justify European and American violence, genocide and slavery against Indigenous populations. Its continued presence grossly validated racist ideologies and systems that for centuries have served to defend rationalized injustices against Native people. The obelisk came down at a time when our country was finally confronting a history of systemic racism, racial oppression, slavery and our shameful attempt to erase history throughout the United States. Statues across the country were being destroyed in similar protests. The Mayor of Santa Fe stood on the Plaza last summer and promised that it would be removed saying, “My belief is that we must take these steps now because they are the right thing to do,” he added. “It is a moment of moral truth, and we’ve been called to do it by our Native American colleagues, friends and family members, and it is long overdue.” It is morally repugnant to put these people in jail, not only for doing what was right, but for doing what had been promised by the City of Santa Fe three months earlier.

Augustin de la Sierra

Thank you, Ms. Viscoli.

Carlos Vasquez

[thumbup][thumbup][thumbup][thumbup]

Maria Bautista

Quit chasing ghosts, go to the shelter, feed the First Nation people who are homeless, starving and have no tribal support. Focus...quit banging on concrete. The Obelisk is embedded in history, forever.

Angel Ortiz

Wrong in so many ways. It is vandalism. Plain and simple.

Mike Johnson

[thumbup]

Katherine Martinez

Miranda, “supremacist social structure” is a bit melodramatic. The criminal destruction of our town square has done absolutely nothing to cure race relations between natives and other cultures; if anything it has fanned the flames of animosity. That behavior is no better than the violence you say you condemn. These culture clashes and wars between civilizations have predated us and will outlast us all. This is far greater than statues and obelisks. Energies ought to be focused on obtaining running water on tribal land, feeding the hungry, or fighting the continuing pandemic that has decimated so many on the reservations.

Miranda Viscoli

I would recommend you read Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz. She is the author of “An Indigenous Peoples’ History” and “All the Real Indians Died off” and 20 other Myths about Native Americans.” Specifically, Chapter 4 Myth 6 “Indians should move on and forget the past.” As to helping…. Been doing that for years honey and will continue for many many more… [smile]

David Romero

How is this helping native Americans? This activism by Native American activists and BLM,ECT is just an excuse for failure. This is the 21st century.

Mike Johnson

[thumbdown][thumbdown]

Lee Vigil

There were more responsible ways to deal with this. Vandalism wasn't one of them. I'm sympathetic to the position of Native Americans, but completely against what happened on the plaza. So are the tribes, who've spoken against the destruction in this paper. It wasn't the right of the Red Nation, Surj Northern NM, or 3SC to take it upon themselves to do this.

Ralph Arellanes

I was the last person in the 152 year old history of the Santa Fe obelisk to speak out publicly about saving it. My article was published on Sunday, October 11th, 2020 - the day before Indigenous People's Day. Toppling the obelisk is a horrible crime. This is a direct attack on the Hispano community and our ancestors who fought valiantly & bravely during the Civil War against the oncoming Confederate Soldiers from Texas and on south. The part of the obelisk with the term "Savage" that was once inscribed on it, had been chiseled off in the early 1970's. This side of the obelisk and plaque could have easily been removed and replaced with more acceptable and appropriate wording to really focus on the over 9,000 New Mexico Hispanos who fought for our Union and defeated the oncoming Confederate Soldiers. These criminals and vandals must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Had these protesters and vandals been Hispano, they would have been arrested, jailed, shot, maced, etc. These criminals must be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.

Miranda Viscoli

Miranda Viscoli Dec 9, 2020 6:17pm

The obelisk on the Santa Fe Plaza affirmed a non-Native supremacist social structure that served the self-interest of non-Natives in order to justify European and American violence, genocide and slavery against Indigenous populations. Its continued presence grossly validated racist ideologies and systems that for centuries have served to defend rationalized injustices against Native people. The obelisk came down at a time when our country was finally confronting a history of systemic racism, racial oppression, slavery and our shameful attempt to erase history throughout the United States. Statues across the country were being destroyed in similar protests. The Mayor of Santa Fe stood on the Plaza last summer and promised that it would be removed saying, “My belief is that we must take these steps now because they are the right thing to do,” he added. “It is a moment of moral truth, and we’ve been called to do it by our Native American colleagues, friends and family members, and it is long overdue.” It is morally repugnant to put these people in jail, not only for doing what was right, but for doing what had been promised by the City of Santa Fe three months earlier.

Mike Johnson

[thumbdown][thumbdown] Ridiculous.

Carlos Vasquez

[thumbup][thumbup][thumbup] so true...

Maria Bautista

Totally Agree.

david J.

If Fox is jailed, who will deliver Christmas gifts all around the world?

Khal Spencer

[lol]

Carlos Vasquez

he won't be jailed; so no worries(:

Lee Vigil

There wasn't much news at today's hearing for Witt, Schweitzer, and Furlong. The State asked for and received a continuance because defense counsel had requested lapel footage and hadn't received it due to storage issues. Apparently there are 150 gigabytes of footage. Defense counsel was asked to provide storage devices that can accommodate the footage. Megan Dorsey is counsel for Schweitzer. Christopher Dodd for Witt, and Kitren Fisher for Furlong. Something that's gnawing at me a bit that seems off is why the city hasn't provided their footage? Seems to me that the police retreated, so if they weren't on the scene at the moment when the obelisk was toppled, aren't we missing valuable evidence if the State's relying solely on lapel footage? The City's footage would provide the most complete record of what occurred that day. It feels like we're being played here. It also feels like local instigators are being shielded from prosecution.

Lee Vigil

They're next in court on January 6, 2021. Melissa Rose, Lauren Straily, and Stephen Fox are next in Segura's courtroom on December 23rd at 8:00 a.m.

Miguel Gabaldon

Lee Vigil, the City had a mobile security camera on the plaza that day and that video will be a critical piece of evidence in this trial. I also provided video footage to the SFPD from a Plaza business owner that shows Fox and others holding the rope that destroyed the obelisk.

Lee Vigil

My worry is that all the other footage (yours, the plaza cam, etc) will not be used as evidence, only the lapel footage -- which is limited since it might not have all of the footage since the police retreated.

Maria Bautista

It's all bought and paíd for...

Carlos Vasquez

the good shall prevail...

Augustin de la Sierra

Gallery owner Stephen Fox's attorney, Roderick Kennedy" appears to have been "a judge on the New Mexico Court of Appeals. He was appointed to the court by then-Republican Governor Gary Johnson in 1999 and reappointed in 2001. He was retained by voters in 2004 and 2012. Kennedy served as chief judge of the court from 2013 to 2015. He succeeded Celia Castillo, who retired from the court." See https://ballotpedia.org/Roderick_Kennedy

I think the Santa Fe New Mexican really ought to include such information. We're up to at least two attorneys for these defendants who clearly have taken a special interest, and it's not on the side of the prosecution.

Carlos Vasquez

good point

Maria Bautista

Protecting Webber

Mike Johnson

Again, Mr Fox needs to call (subpoena to force them) Webber and his assistants to testify for his defense. If they ordered it, he can use them to prove that.

Carlos Vasquez

good point

Stefanie Beninato

Stephen Fox could also be charged with reckless endangerment as he wanders around downtown without a mask and enters grocery stores with a piece of red tape over his mouth. He also decided when only essential businesses were to be kept open that his gallery on S Francisco St was "essential" sitting at its door everyday from March onward. Yeah tell me about "amicable".

Mark Blackburn

So true Stefanie. I hope they convict him and all the others and get substantial jail time.

Angel Ortiz

A couple of days in general population will do Mr. Fox and the others a lot good. I'm sure that the inmates would love to hear how great it is to be an activist.

Maria Bautista

And minority businesses are fined, but Fox not, why?

David Romero

This guy can just "pull" while he is sitting in the county jail.

Lee Vigil

Also, why hasn't Webber resigned? He clearly failed in his leadership.

Carlos Vasquez

good point

Maria Bautista

There was a group reviewing recall, do not know what happened.

Lee Vigil

I understand the reason is because it's within a year of the next mayoral election. Do you think he'll run again? I would guess not. Done enough damage with one term. Bye Felicia!

Lee Vigil

Furlong, Schweitzer, and Witt are all due in court again today for a docket call in Segura's courtroom at 8:00 a.m. All these hearings are held electronically due to CV-19. You can watch or listen to the proceedings yourself. Here's the link for more info. https://firstdistrictcourt.nmcourts.gov/santa-fe-magistrate.aspx. As citizens, we have the right to stay informed and listen or watch the proceedings. Stand up for your city!

Katherine Martinez

[thumbup]

Richard Reinders

These case's will send a message that Santa Fe either has law and order or not.

Angel Ortiz

Time for the vandals to pay the price for their horrible acts. While the monument may have not been appropriate for some, these fools did have the authority to take this type of action. Sad and disturbing.

Mark Blackburn

Actually when the monument came crashing down pieces flew everywhere upon impact. A large piece just about hit me as can be shown by the video I took. I have turned all videos over to the police.

Lee Vigil

I wish you'd make your video more widely available than the police.

Katherine Martinez

Yes indeed, let's see some justice here. Thank you Judge Anaya for the admonishment. No one is above the law, not gallery owners, not tattoo artists, nor midwives, no one. A crime was committed and all those involved must suffer the consequences.

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