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.