Cops Accuse Two in Obelisk Takedown

Police and district attorney say felony charges for pair won’t be the only new cases in the monument toppling

Santa Fe Police have accused two people of crimes related to the destruction of the obelisk on the Plaza last month and District Attorney Marco Serna has already pledged to throw the book at them.

In a statement issued on social media and to the press Wednesday night after 6pm, Deputy Police Chief Ben Valdez announced that the department had cooperated with the Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office, New Mexico State Police and the District Attorney's Office, "working together to identify, locate, and charge the individuals involved in this case in accordance with the judicial process."

According to police, Lily Sage Schweitzer, 33, and Ryan Witt, 29, will face charges of criminal damage to property (over $1,000), conspiracy, unlawful assembly, criminal trespass; and resisting, evading and/or obstructing an officer.  Witt also is accused of unauthorized graffiti (over $1,000), they said.

Jail records don't indicate either Witt or Schweitzer was booked into the Santa Fe County jail, but criminal complaints in the cases had been recorded at Santa Fe County Magistrate Court by early Thursday morning. Out-of-state addresses were listed for both: hers in Pennsylvania, his in Maryland.

District Attorney Marco Serna said, "I stand with our community in deep concern regarding the event that destroyed the Obelisk. It is quite clear that these [individuals] and others fully intended to destroy the Obelisk and my Office is fully committed to bringing justice to our community. Convictions for felonies will be sought when warranted and I do not intend to plea any of the charges down—these individuals need to be held accountable for their actions."

Schweitzer and Witt aren't the only people likely to see charges, police said, noting "several other individuals have been identified and will be facing charges for their involvement."  Investigators have contracted "a handful of others" for questioning regarding their participation in the incident, the announcement said.

Dozens of protesters participated in pulling down the monument on Oct. 12, 2020, and police had said they would use video surveillance and body camera footage, as well as tips from the community, to track down those who had active roles.

SFPD arrested Sean Sunderland, 24, and Dylan Wrobel, 27, the day of the Indigenous Peoples Day event for their alleged involvement in the incidents leading up to the takedown of the obelisk, including tussle with officers. Both were jailed and released on bond.

Editor's note: This story was updated Thursday with information about criminal complaints newly on file with Magistrate Court.

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