DENVER (CBS4) – At least a dozen people tied a rope around a statue that honors Christopher Columbus in Denver’s Civic Center Park overnight and pulled it down. It’s the second statue outside the Colorado State Capitol with ties to historical controversy to come own in as many days.
At daybreak the 15-foot bronze statue was over on its side and on the ground.
-COLUMBUS STATUE DOWN-
Overnight a group of 10+ people used ropes to topple over a statue which honors Christopher Columbus.
— Dillon Thomas (@DillonMThomas) June 26, 2020
Scott Gilmore, the Executive Director of Denver Parks and Recreation, said he cried when he heard the statue had been pulled down.
Gilmore said it’s not a statue of Columbus. The metal plaque under the statue does reference Columbus, and city officials were hoping to remove the plaque and keep the statue.
“If this was a statue of Columbus, we would have wanted it down and out of the park,” Gilmore explained. “But this wasn’t a statue of Columbus. This was a statue based on the Vitruvian Man.”
The Vitruvian Man is a drawing done by Leonardo da Vinci in 1490.
“Putting something back up that was just torn down without having a discussion, and trying to bring people together, isn’t a solution,”Gilmore said.
Denver residents we talked to Thursday morning agreed.
“We need to speak on issues, but not just going out and doing violent acts,” said Carl Huey.
“We should pull together and try and work things out, instead of trying to tear everything up,” said Matt Smith.
On Thursday the American Indian Movement of Colorado sent a letter to Denver leaders calling for the removal of “two racist, anti-Indian icons: the plaque honoring Christopher Columbus in Civic Center Park and the Pioneer Fountain monument at the corner of Colfax and Broadway streets.”
“The historical moment has arrived for Denver to find the moral courage to begin the process of removal of these vicious and divisive monuments to invasion and colonialism. The removal of these statues will only begin the discussion of the remediation of the history of anti-blackness and anti-indigeneity in Denver, which is epitomized by the ongoing tribute to the African slave-trading, Indian-murdering Christopher Columbus,” the group said in a statement.
Denver police said they are investigating the situation.
Two nights ago a Civil War statue in front of the capitol was toppled and damaged.