5 Charged in San Francisco-Area Toppling of Junipero Serra Statue

Vandals tear down Juniper Serra statue in San Rafael, California. (Video Screenshot/KTVU Fox2)
Video Screenshot/KTVU Fox2

Five San Francisco Bay Area residents are facing charges of felony vandalism following a video showing a statue of Juniper Serra being vandalized and torn down. Police observed the attack on the statue of the Catholic Saint and questioned suspects after they left the area.

Police in San Rafael, California, arrested five people in connection to the painting and tearing down of a statue of Junipero Serro during a protest on Tuesday morning, according to a report from CBS in San Francisco. Police say the protesters strayed from their planned route in order to spray red paint on the statue and pull it off its pedestal.

“Police said a decision was made not to get directly involved in or interact with the demonstration so as not to inflame or escalate behaviors during the protest,” the CBS news outlet reported. “Officers who were monitoring the protest kept up surveillance of those involved in the statue vandalism. As the suspects left the location, officers spoke to them away from the view of other participants in order to keep the protest peaceful and avoid larger conflict.”

The news outlet identified the five suspects as:

Ines Shiam Gardilcic, a 40-year-old Oakland resident, Victoria Eva Montanopena, a 29-year-old Oakland resident, Melissa Aguilar, a 36-year-old Novato resident, Mayorgi Nadeska Delgadillo, a 36-year-old San Rafael resident, and Moira Cribben Van de Walker, a 25-year-old San Anselmo resident.

They face charges of felony vandalism. Police issued citations and released the subjects. The cases have been referred to the Marin County District Attorney’s Office for prosecution.

Church leaders say protesters never asked them to take the statue down, KTVU Fox2 reported from the scene. Event organizers told the local Fox affiliate they did not ask the protesters to tear the statue down — but they were glad they did, the article states.

“You go to the city. You go to the board. It’s all dragged out. We don’t want to do that. We just want to get it done,” Lucina Vidauri with Coast Miwok of Marin told the Fox reporter.

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone responded, “It was mob rule, a troubling phenomenon that seems to be repeating itself throughout the country.  St. Serra made heroic sacrifices to protect the indigenous people of California from their Spanish conquerors, especially the soldiers.”

Breitbart News has reported extensively about vandalism and other attacks of statues and buildings honoring the Catholic Saint. In June, Catholic League President Bill Donohue called those who would topple these statues “urban barbarians.”

If the truth were told about Saint Serra, he would be heralded as a friend of the Indians, not as their enemy,” Donohue stated. “But truth matters little to those whose hearts are full of hatred and whose minds are closed to reality.”

Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior news contributor for the Breitbart Texas-Border team. He is an original member of the Breitbart Texas team. Price is a regular panelist on Fox 26 Houston’s What’s Your Point? Sunday-morning talk show. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX and Facebook.

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