3 Arrested After Protesters Set Fire To Civil War Statue Pedestal At The Capitol

Capitol Statue Torn Down
Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
A monument at the Colorado state Capitol remembering the 1st Colorado Cavalry who fought and died in the Civil War was torn down early in the morning on June 25, 2020.

Denver Police have apprehended three people after a small group of protesters attempted to set fire to the pedestal of a Civil War statue toppled at the state Capitol.

In a statement, Democratic Gov. Jared Polis lauded the arrests and hope it would provide a breakthrough into investigations of damage to public property.

"There is a right way and a wrong way to have an open and honest conversation about our history," Polis statement said. "Destruction and vandalism are not the answer. To be clear, no matter what your feelings about public art, our state respects the rule of law and there are proper legal channels for reflection, conversation and change."

There have been no charges or arrests in connection to the damage to the statue itself.

A report from 9News said that about 75 protesters had been demonstrating peacefully around the Capitol late Saturday when a small group broke off and went to the statue site. Just before 11 p.m., a fire was set atop the mostly-concrete pedestal using wood and other materials. Denver Fire Department extinguished the blaze and damage was minimal.

The pedestal that supported the statue of a Union cavalryman had already been defaced with graffiti. It has also been subject to similar graffiti in the preceding weeks during protests on statehouse grounds.

Protesters across the nation have defaced and torn down statues of historic figures during recent demonstrations against racial injustice.