Charges Against Man Who Toppled Christopher Columbus Statue - Dismissed

MN Attorneys Jack Rice and Willow Anderson implemented a restorative justice model focused on community healing - successfully navigating a new alternative to the traditional criminal justice system.
Published: Dec. 6, 2021 at 4:55 PM EST

SAINT PAUL, Minn., Dec. 6, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- The criminal charges against the man who was charged with tearing down the Christopher Columbus statue at the Minnesota State Capitol were dismissed today.  Michael Forcia, an American Indian Movement activist, was charged in June 2020 with felony Criminal Damage to Property.  Chief Judge of the Second Judicial District, Leonardo Castro, found that Mr. Forcia completed all his obligations to the Court.  Rather than serve time, Mr. Forcia spent time healing rifts in the community.

Judge Castro stated, "True justice and healing are rarely achieved but I sincerely believe that it was so in this case.  It would have been simple to charge, convict, and punish.  But the more difficult road towards reflection, learning and healing was taken, and the result will bear fruit forever.  I congratulate you all for your wisdom and courage."

For his part, in a letter to the Court, Mr. Forcia said, "The rule of law is an essential element to a peaceful society.  I broke the law and was prepared to accept the consequences when I did that. By my service, I have worked hard to restore peace in our society."

Mr. Forcia is represented by attorneys Jack Rice and Willow Anderson.  By using a restorative justice process, rather than taking the case to trial, Rice and Anderson successfully advocated for an alternative approach.  Mr. Rice said, "Mike's case and this resolution is not just about restorative justice but about transformative justice. There were many perspectives and opinions about what our client did and how he did it.  Through this process, those voices were heard."  Ms. Anderson added, "Through collaboration, respectful dialogue, and creative problem solving we were able to achieve an extraordinary result not just for our client but for the broader community. The process used here is a historic step in the right direction."

Jack Rice is a criminal defense lawyer in Saint Paul, MN and founder of Jack Rice Defense.
651-447-7650;  jack@jackrice.org.

Willow Anderson is a public health law attorney based in Saint Paul, MN.
651-334-3244; willow@willowandersonlaw.com.

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SOURCE Jack Rice Law

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