DENVER (KDVR) — What began in other states is now happening in Colorado.
Early Thursday morning, vandals toppled the Civil War statue right outside the State Capitol building.
“I’m just as shocked as everyone to wake up and see Colorado monuments are being taken down,” said Tay Anderson, a Denver Public Schools board member.
Anderson is also a prominent figure in Colorado’s Black Lives Matter movement who has advocated against the destruction of private property.
However, he says the toppling of the statue is different.
“I think we’ve waited long enough. I think people are done with political avenues they have to navigate in order to see change come about in this city,” Anderson said.
Anderson says he doesn’t know who topped the statue, but Denver police likely will since the four vandals were recorded on camera.
“I don’t believe these individuals should face charges. The riot is the language of the unheard,” Anderson said, referencing a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
However, those words are a sharp contrast to those from Gov. Jared Polis. Polis says he was heartbroken when he saw what had happened to the statue of a Union soldier who fought to end slavery during the Civil War.
“The State of Colorado is going to fully cooperate to hunt out and prosecute anyone responsible for defacing a monument to those who lost their lives to end slavery,” Polis said. “I don’t think anyone knows yet whether it was Confederacy sympathizers or white supremacists or hooligans or drunk people.”
Polis says the statue won’t stay down for long.
“It’s going to go right back up and we’re going to remember our Union heroes who fought to end slavery,” Polis said.
However, Anderson believes the statue needs to go. He’s not opposed to the statue because of its connection to the African American community, but because of its connection to the Sand Creek Massacre where hundreds of Native Americans were murdered.
“I think this is an opportunity for our African American community to step back and support our Indigenous brothers and sisters,” Anderson aid. “I would actually like to see this statue replaced with an Indigenous woman.”