The New Mexican
The Santa Fe Police Department has filed charges against a sixth person in connection with the destruction of the obelisk that stood in the center of the Plaza.
Stephen Fox, 72, was charged Friday with criminal damage to property over $1,000, conspiracy and unlawful assembly.
Protesters toppled the 152-year-old monument using rope and chain during a protest on Indigenous Peoples Day in October.
The obelisk was dedicated to soldiers who fought in the Civil War, but it also had an inscription honoring the “heroes” who died in battle with “savage Indians.”
Fox, owner of the New Millennium Fine Art Gallery in downtown Santa Fe, said he was alarmed by the heavy police presence on the Plaza before the obelisk was toppled.
“It reminded me of something like Afghanistan or Iraq,” Fox said in a telephone interview Friday. “I called the mayor on the night before Indigenous Peoples Day and said, ‘Mayor, this is not you, this is not Santa Fe, this is not Iraq and this is not Afghanistan. Something is very, very wrong here.’ ”
The next day, he returned to the Plaza and “someone handed me a rope,” he said.
Fox admitted he was involved in pulling down the monument, but “I don’t think it’s a crime,” he said. “I think it’s perfectly clear that the mayor wanted the obelisk removed.”
In June, Mayor Alan Webber said he intended to take down the obelisk. Yet it stood in the Plaza for several more months.
“I wouldn’t have accepted the rope, put it in my hand nor pulled on it had I not believed that the mayor ... wanted this obelisk to be brought down,” Fox said. “Sometimes monuments have to go.”