One of the men who says he was assaulted by Trump supporters at a post-election rally Saturday in Santa Fe claims New Mexico State Police officers nearby declined to apprehend the assailants and didn't intervene until the incident was over.

Wesley Sandel, 66, said he and a friend were carrying signs that read "Black Lives Matter" and "Go Home Nazi Trash" near the intersection of Old Santa Fe Trail and Paseo de Peralta, while about 150 Trump supporters gathered outside the Roundhouse at a rally to protest election results — a near-weekly occurrence since Joe Biden's victory.

After the rally, Sandel said a group of seven or eight men, who carried guns and had threatened him and his friend earlier, attacked with flags and fists.

Multiple state police officers across the street in a parking lot did not come to his aid until after the assault and let perpetrators leave the scene, Sandel said.

"State police stood by and did nothing while the situation escalated and escalated. I'm pretty sure it was intentional," Sandel said.

State police did not respond to requests for information Monday. On Saturday evening, a spokesman said no arrests were made and the incident remained under investigation.

"When officers arrived on scene, the incident was over. As officers investigated the incident, both parties involved were uncooperative," Lt. Mark Soriano wrote in an email Saturday.

Sandel, a social worker, countered that he did cooperate with state police and that while he was being interviewed, one of the attackers walked up to one of the officers and said, "I'm going home. I'll see you later," to which the officer responded, "OK."

Sandel's version of the attack is backed by a video of the incident shared with The New Mexican, which shows Sandel and his friend on the ground taking punches and kicks to the head. An eyewitness who asked to remain anonymous confirmed their account.

Similar rallies have drawn hundreds to the Roundhouse and the adjoining intersection in recent weeks. Last month a Santa Fe man filed a police report alleging a Trump supporter kicked his door, damaging his vehicle.

When asked if Santa Fe police would increase patrols of the area following Saturday's incident, Chief Andrew Padilla wrote in an email Monday the department continues to assist in monitoring and securing rallies by the Roundhouse.

“Our objective has been and continues to be, to observe and be available while being as least intrusive as possible to allow all participants to safely exercise their 1st Amendment right," Padilla said.

Post-election rallies have lately become more violent. According to the Washington Post, more than 30 people were arrested and four were stabbed after rallies supporting Trump descended into chaos in Washington, D.C., as a white nationalist group that calls itself The Proud Boys roamed the streets. The crowd of approximately 700 people also burned banners reading Black Lives Matter torn from two of the city's oldest Black churches. 

A Proud Boys group in New Mexico has maintained a visual presence at recent Trump rallies outside the Roundhouse in recent weeks with long rifles and the organization's logos on military-inspired outfits.

(73) comments

Frederick Morgan

Your reporting on this is not accurate and quite frankly it sucks. The 66-year-old Wesley douche bag and his super skinny friend followed the Trump parade down to the church and the entire time was playing profane songs and bulling the Trump supporters. The skinny boy pushed one of the Trump supporting guys and then the signs were removed quickly from the two communists as they started swinging them at the Trump supports. After the Trump supporters began to advance to keep them away from the rest of the parade, the skinny one decided to pull a hammer out of his backpack worn in the front and began threatening the Trump supporters with it. The two douche bags then left and started causing issues across the street by the roundhouse. The state police are a joke, this skinny douche bag was threatening people with a hammer and was detained but later no charges were filed. The incident across the street happened with the douche bags later on that day and again they were yelling at people through their megaphone right in people's faces. The megaphone was removed from the 66-year-old douchebag and a small skirmish occured. That is what happened..

Richard Reinders

How long can this paper bleed this story, if it was Biden supporters or ANTIFA it would be in the paper one day or not at all.

Lee DiFiore

Where was all the moral outrage and condemnation of the months and months of actual violence by the left; burning, looting, property destruction, assault of police and innocent bystanders and on and on. Your protestations now, even if true, ring hollow.

Mark Brown

The real crime the NMSP should be investigating and arresting on that happens in front of them every day is MLG impersonating a governor and acting like they care.

Lee DiFiore

Send me a dozen friend requests. I'll accept them all.

Jose Garcia

Ok so in the video how did they guy who got beaten end up across the street where the trump supporters were? Wasn’t trump supporters on one side and BLM on other side of street ? So It seems the older gentleman crossed over in to the Trump side unless he was dragged which I doubt. This video is not a full video of what happened.. I am sure their is video somewhere how this all began.. I am sure it was not just the trump supporters fault as cops said said both parties didn’t want to cooperate.. just an observation

Lee Vigil

This attack looks like it happened across the street from the roundhouse, on the southwest corner of Old Santa Fe Trail and Paseo de Peralta.

Jose Garcia

Yes. It doesn’t matter where it was exactly but it does look like the older gentleman was across the street were the trump supporters were protesting, so it looks like unless he was dragged over there he was starting some shenanigans with them.. provoking it somehow.. once a full video comes out then people will really knows what happened that day.

Lee Vigil

Sure, but the article states/implies that the protest was at the round house and many people are clearly confused about that. As to your other point, everybody has a constitutional right to express themselves and protest free from harm. Assaulting someone because you don't like their views is a crime.

Khal Spencer

Some examples here of rulings on fighting words, including cases throw out and convictions. I can't quote them all as the obscenity filter will kick in. Its admittedly a subject with few bright lines and indeed, there is broad latitude for being obnoxious in public, but for example, calling a cop a "“white, racist motherf*****” led to a conviction. (State v. Clay, Minnesota Court of Appeals, 1999)

"Fighting Words Overview"

by FIRE February 15, 2017

https://www.thefire.org/fighting-words-overview/

Lupe Molina

Were any of them 5 lanes of traffic away with just a sign? Nah, didn't think so.

Khal Spencer

Thank heavens they widened the road!

Richard Reinders

Khal been down any rabbit holes lately?

Khal Spencer

[lol]

Khal Spencer

Richard, if you are the Richard Reinders of Estrella Del Norte Vineyard, we need to head up your way with a couple of wine glasses.

Angel Ortiz

Tossing out a hypothetical situation. What if a group of Latinos gathered to protest the lack of immigration rights in this Country and they were all armed with semi automatic weapons? Or perhaps a group of Afro Americans gathered to protest BLM , armed and on the steps of the State Capitol Building? How would law enforcement deal with the situation? Even more, how would MAGA and the Trump following deal with it?

Carlos Vasquez

That's right. and that's wrong. IF WE were to do such a thing, which has been done before, we would stoop to the low, and although, the majority has spoken, we must trust that the pen is mightier than the sword. And, yes, WE will get paid for the land and for the labor and intrinsically, for all of the disenfranchisement along the way. To be fair, justice is a small price to pay for peace. The Black Contract w America will be presented to the new administration, and there will be a bit more to that conversation, to include the Brown and the Yellow, and the Red, etc...The Pen is mightier than the sword, but if they persist, the people shall prevail...

Mike Johnson

There are numerous examples of armed minority protestors, this just recently from AP: "A group of heavily armed Black protesters marched through Louisville, Kentucky on Saturday demanding justice for Breonna Taylor,..." And: "Demonstrators and mourners, some armed, marched through the streets and lit candles in Houston, San Antonio, Austin and El Paso on Sunday, holding "Justice for Vanessa" signs and U.S. and Mexican flags for the Army specialist, who was Mexican American." Not uncommon though not as common as whites. It seems the minorities prefer huge backpacks loaded with frozen water bottles, Molotov cocktails, spray paint cans, rocks, etc.....

Angel Ortiz

Valid point but they were protesting the death of an innocent Latina. The thugs at the State Capitol are unhappy because of the Presidential election. Apples and oranges my friend. I don't have any Latino friends or relatives who dress in public places with camo and semi automatic rifles.

Khal Spencer

For a bit of historical context, when the Black Panthers demonstrated in the California State Capitol in Sacramento back in the day, the CA legislature passed and Gov. Reagan signed, and the NRA supported the 1967 Mulford Act, banning public open carry of a loaded firearm in CA. (of course this was prior to the famous NRA Cincinnati revolt)

Yep, we have racism in the United States...

Thomas Tickner

They would not have just stood by.

Devin Bent

Wesley Sandel is a real name and a real person. Any claim to the contrary lacks truth. He briefly was a candidate for mayor some years back and made the New Mexican.

https://www.santafenewmexican.com/news/local_news/entrepreneur-webber-social-worker-sandel-enter-mayoral-race/article_7457f0ba-a2fc-11e7-bae9-73795a7f0c3c.html

Mike Johnson

Did you endorse him for Mayor?

Khal Spencer

Go to a Trump rally carrying a sign saying "Go Home N a z i Trash"? Gee, sounds like provocation to me. What if I went to a BLM rally carrying a sign saying "Go Back to Africa"?

Lupe Molina

Wow, Khal. You toe the line pretty well some of the time but that's a ridiculous false equivalency and I think you know it. These people are acting like right wing thugs as demonstrated here and the counterprotestors called them on that. To compare that to something as obviously racist as "go back to Africa" is beyond the pale.

Aside from that point, are you actually arguing that these folks deserved to be assaulted for counterprotesting? Jeez, you must have drank something Dr. Mike gave you.

Khal Spencer

What I am suggesting is that fighting words are fighting words regardless of who uses them. I'm a little surprised at your response. Seems that some here seem to think that when the Left insults people, its OK. Calling someone "trash" or throwing around the N a z i word may sound cool to you but its a provocation.

And no, I am not arguing that physical assault is an acceptable response to being provoked although a likely one. My response would be out of the New Testament: Turn the other cheek.

Khal Spencer

So my question remains unanswered. Does waving a sign saying "Go Home N a z i Trash" constitute fighting words under Texas v Johnson, which said direct personal insults are fighting words? Well, if you throw around fighting words (and my counterexample certainly would be fighting words in my opinion), not only is it not protected speech, but you should then expect a fight.

Lupe Molina

But what does that even mean? We've all heard tough guys in westerns say "them is fightin' words!" but that's not what the law says. You're making an argument out of Kirk Douglas lines, man. The law says I can put whatever I want on a sign and the state should protect my right to do so. That's not what happened here. The Trumpsters deserve to do that too. But they are also openly breaking the law by violating public health orders and messing with traffic.

My family gave a lot of itself to fight totalitarianism when its men fought in foreign wars for this country. Calling a wholly legal election "fraud" is something that fascists do. It's not cool to call someone a fascist. That carries a lot of weight for me and my family. But toting guns and beating people up because they insult you is brown shirt behavior.

Khal Spencer

The law emphatically says that direct insults are not protected speech but fighting words; the state does not have a First Amendment reason to defend your right to do so.

If you think I am taking a line out of Kirk Douglas, it sounds to me like you are drinking the Kool Aid of the woman who said destroying a monument is protected speech. Welcome to the Twilight Zone.

I'll retire to Bedlam. There is more sanity there.

Lupe Molina

That was for a flag burning and Johnson got off! In that case and all the other, like four, cases of "fighting words" in modern legal history, the defendents first amendment rights were protected. I appreciate you attempting an argument here but its totally specious and has no basis in legal doctrine or precedent.

Patricia Michaels

That didn't work so well for the Jews in Germany in WWII times.

Lupe Molina

Cool, man. Take you toys and go home. But everyone here will see that your verifiabley wrong. Johnson won that case. Insults are covered under free speech. There is not a single case you can cite that demonstrates your assertion that this could be covered under a "fighting words" definition. Tough guys on TV don't make the rules.

Khal Spencer

Either you are missing the point or being disingenuous. Johnson v Texas said that burning the flag was symbolic protected speech.It also said that "...Johnson's expression of dissatisfaction with the Federal Government's policies also does not fall within the class of "fighting words" likely to be seen as a direct personal insult or an invitation to exchange fisticuffs. ..."

So my question remains. Does carrying a sign to a Trump rally that calls the red had folks "trash" constitute a personal insult likely to incite a breach of the peace?

I'm waiting....

Lupe Molina

Hi Khal, were those people with signs arrested for them? Have they been arraigned? Nah. That obviously answers your question. Even though you are just cherry picking an obviously very different case and legal standard that's been upheld, like, never.

Carlos Vasquez

[thumbup][smile]

Khal Spencer

They weren't arrested but neither was anyone else. Doesn't mean its protected speech, which is my narrow question.

Khal Spencer

"...were those people with signs arrested for them? Have they been arraigned? Nah. That obviously answers your question. .."

By that logic, the people who assaulted the sign waiver didn't do anything wrong either, since they were not arrested.

Mr. "N a z i trash go home" should NOT have been touched. That said, if you go taunting the bull, you might get the horn.

Emily Koyama

Did not see you objecting to violent, disruptive protests (riots) over the summer, mostly by BLM types....billions in damage, and lots of traffic disruption.

Oh, yeah, some were wearing masks, but I think that was to conceal identity more than a desire to protect public health.....

Carlos Vasquez

[thumbup][thumbup][thumbup][thumbup][beam]

Lee DiFiore

As opposed to left wing thugs who we've been watching doing real violence for months.

Stefanie Beninato

[thumbup][thumbup][thumbup]

Mike Johnson

Yes, well said. And of course, it is only fair, since the police did nothing to stop the left wing rioters and vandals that destroyed the obelisk, they were just, how did the chief put it last time, protecting the officers?

Angel Ortiz

Khal, I've had a few interactions with some of these self described militia types who claim they are present at these rallies to protect innocent people. Honestly, 99% should not be allowed to carry a weapon much less have a driver's license. If all it takes are a couple of signs and an exchange of words to beat down on people and in this case , a 66 year old man, then there is really something wrong with our society. Many of these militia peeps have no problem using profanity with people of color or even females. Simply said, they are bullies and there is always someone bigger and stronger out there. It's just a matter of time.

Khal Spencer

I agree that many behave badly. When you are carrying weapons, you have raised the bar on good behavior for obvious reasons. If you can't control your behavior, even when being provoked, being called "N a z i trash", or any other number of provocations, either leave the hardware home or just stay home.

I do think it is rather foolish to taunt people with obnoxious signs, but there is not a moral equivalence between an obnoxious sign and a physical assault. But all I have to say to those who insist on taunting others is that when you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas.

Angel Ortiz

Khal, we'll see what the future holds. I am not very optimistic about situations such as this. I grew up in this city and have heard about every derogatory racist remark I care to hear but never escalated the situation unless I or my family were placed in harm's way. You bring up the quote about dogs and fleas. I own two large German Shepherds and they act more responsibility than these militia thugs. Guess we can agree to disagree. In my estimation, a very sad and tragic way for our community to exist.

Khal Spencer

The bigger issue, Angel, is people don't respect each other's differences any more. I have more respect for German Shepherds than I do for many of my countrymen (and women) and would sooner get fleas from my dog than bad karma from many of my fellow Americans. For that matter, my Border Collie mix is more thoughtful than many of my fellow Americans.

I'm not a Republican. Been a registered Dem for over forty years. Even if I was a Republican (which is hard when the GOP has become a cult of personality), I would avoid these armed demonstrations like the plague. Its just not the right message since we are supposed to solve these issues with ballots not bullets. But neither is calling someone "trash" if you actually expect civil discourse rather than a knuckle sandwich. Neither Left nor Right has a corner on the market of wisdom. We need to talk to each other.

Yep. Its very sad and tragic. I wish you and your family well.

Thomas Tickner

Truth.

Michael Lordi

It's called the first amendment.

Thomas Tickner

No excuse for violence.

Lala Ramos

Oh no! I saw that guy and his friend and gave them a thumbs up and a honk. As I drove down Old Pecos towards the freeway, I swear to God there were hundreds of cars and trucks with their giant Trump flags. What a mess. These people are nuts. How scary. You should be able to stand on the street with a sign and not worry then get your rear kicked while law-enforcement stands by, as a lawyer I can tell you that beating someone up is not part of your first amendment right.

Khal Spencer

As a lawyer do you care to opine on when the "fighting words" issue comes up? Such as when the N a z i sign is waived in the face of the MAGA hat crowd? Seems to me that if you deliberately provoke, you are on thin ice.

https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/fighting_words

Does this apply:

"In Texas v. Johnson, 491 U.S. 397 (1989), the Supreme Court redefined the scope of the fighting words doctrine to mean words that are "a direct personal insult or an invitation to exchange fisticuffs." In the case, the Court held that the burning of a United States flag, which was considered symbolic speech, did not constitute fighting words.`"

Carlos Vasquez

[thumbup][thumbup]

Russell Scanlon

Brownshirts people. It’s happening—if we allow it.

Miranda Viscoli

This has to stop! We need police at this corner every Saturday until these armed bullies crawl back under their rocks. A month ago, I ran and found a police officer because these armed men were harassing and intimidating teenagers who had Biden signs. On the same day, two armed men dented a person’s car. When the police finally showed up the two ran off. Two weeks ago, I was walking my dog and was yelled at by these armed men for wearing a mask. Not to mention called offensive names because I am a female.

Carlos Vasquez

Unaceptable!

Stefanie Beninato

[thumbup][thumbup][thumbup]

Steve Fitzer

I do have to wonder why State police killed a black man by the side of the road recently when only a few weeks earlier they basically kissed the rear end of a fat old white man from Scottsdale who had a loaded AR 15 under his car seat and whose son had just shot and tried to kill a female patrol officer. You think they would have found probable cause to search the car and trailer of what was obviously a roving band of hillbillies out to kill women and people of color in our great State, but no they gave that guy a pass. Why?

Katherine Martinez

Steve, the stories are hardly similar. The 'hillbilly' as you refer to (Robert Nelson) has got away with nothing. He faces a slew of State and federal charges including attempted murder, aggravated battery, shooting from a vehicle, and so on. If Mr. Nelson was in close proximity to the officers weapon as Mr. Applewhite was, and was compelled to reach for it as Mr. Applewhite did, Mr. Nelson would have likely met the same fate.

Lee DiFiore

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

John Wilson

It is important to avoid pooling all of the police in with the worst of the police. But that does not mean ignoring the worst of the police.

Katherine Martinez

It’s perfectly acceptable to allow the police to stand idly by while our town square is desecrated, pummeled, and come toppling down, so why is this incident any different? Be careful what you ask for, we may just be turning into Portland yet.

Richard Reinders

[thumbup][thumbup] there is more to this story people don't just jump people without reason. Another case of mess with the bull get the horns and the story has a little Smollett to it as well.

Russell Scanlon

There is a difference between people and an obelisk, in case you haven’t noticed.

Emily Koyama

Police Officers were shoved around by the obelisk "protesters" on the Plaza, in case you've already forgotten that detail.

Khal Spencer

Sure. Its ok to trash a monument by threatening violence if the police try to stop you. Sure.

Khal Spencer

Good point. Same people who are now howling at being vulnerable when provoking the MAGA hat crowd cheered when the cops withdrew and let the Left destroy the obelisk.

What goes around comes around, folks.

Lupe Molina

Local and state police have been willfully negligent about these rallies. Allowing gatherings, letting motorcycles park on walkways, allowing assemblies to stop traffic and disturb the peace. Sandel should sue.

Carlos Vasquez

[thumbup][thumbup]

Angel Ortiz

The Proud Boys! Really? Certainly a group of gentlemen and scholars. I guess my faith in the NMSP is gone. Apparently they and SFPD cannot handle these thugs. There is no place in Santa Fe for these goons.

Carlos Vasquez

[thumbup][thumbup]

Lane Sauter

Another fake post by Dillion... The video clip that you show shows the end result of what had happened that old man which is twice as big as the kid he attacked instigated the fight. Police were on the other side of the street and as soon as they saw chaos hurried to help the BLM and whole situation. Even after BLM wants to defund the police the police came to their aid. The 66-year-old man and his friend prayed on a 15-year-old boy they pushed him to the ground and started swinging luckily there were bystanders to stop them because one of them had a hammer and was ready to hit the kid with it. They took away the hammer quickly from the BLM guy that was trying to bash a 15-year-old kid's head in, him and the 66-year-old.

Angel Ortiz

Wow! Fake post. Fake news. Fake names.

Lee Vigil

This sounds like fake news. The police never mentioned a hammer. Seems like a detail worth sharing if it were true.

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