Shooting at protest supporting removal of Conquistador statue


Gunfire broke out during a protest Monday night in Albuquerque to demand the removal of a statue of Juan de Oñate, the despotic conquistador of New Mexico whose image has become the latest target in demonstrations across the country aimed at righting a history of racial injustice.

As dozens of people gathered around a statue of Oñate, New Mexico’s 16th-century colonial governor, shouting matches erupted over proposals to take it down and a man was shot, prompting police officers in riot gear to rush in.

The man, who was not identified, was taken away in an ambulance, and the police took into custody several members of a right-wing militia who were dressed in camouflage and carrying military-style rifles. It was not clear whether any of them had fired the shot, or whether they were merely being questioned…

Earlier in the day, authorities in the northern town of Alcalde removed a different statue of Oñate, whose brutal rule as provincial governor put into motion centuries of Spanish rule in the region…

Oñate’s period as governor was marked by a violent repression considered severe even by the standards of his time. He killed 800 Indigenous people in Acoma Pueblo and ordered his men to cut off the foot of at least 24 male captives. Spanish authorities convicted him on charges of excessive violence and cruelty, permanently exiling him from New Mexico

The statue in Alcalde that was removed on Monday gained notoriety decades ago when the right foot of the statue was cut off in a secretive act of protest…

At one point during the protest, Oñate’s foot even made a surprise appearance. Three men wearing masks carried the bronze foot, taken all those years ago, to the entrance of Tiguex Park near the statue, and briefly held the foot aloft.

Yup. That’s the Oñate foot. [Photo from anonymous source] I’ll update this as we get more info about who’s been arrested, etc..


APD reports they have arrested 31-year-old Stephen Ray Baca in connection to the shooting. Baca is being booked into the Metropolitan Detention Center on a charge of aggravated battery. APD reports the shooting is an active investigation. It remains unclear if Baca was a part of the armed militia group…

Witnesses at the scene tell KRQE News 13 dozens of individuals called APD for help before the shooting as tensions rose but police arrived after the protester was shot…

The clown show vigilantes calling themselves the New Mexico Civil Guard were there with long guns to – in their own words – “defend the statue”.

13 thoughts on “Shooting at protest supporting removal of Conquistador statue

  1. p/s says:

    Reuters: “Eyewitness video shows people running for safety after a gunman shot at protesters with a handgun in Albuquerque, New Mexico on Monday (June 15).”
    Fox News: “New Mexico man charged after protest gunfire, as investigators say crowd ‘appeared to maliciously pursue’ him” “…Video obtained by The [Albuquerque] Journal showed a man, who appeared to be Baca, moving through the crowd of protesters and throwing one of them onto the ground, shortly before the shooting took place.”
    See videos at
    “[Steven] Baca, a former city council candidate, was charged with aggravated battery with a deadly weapon for shooting Scott Williams, who was in critical condition, police said.
    He won less than 6% of the votes in last year’s city council elections on a platform to encourage citizens to protect themselves with firearms, renegotiate federal restrictions on law enforcement and end sanctuary city policies.

  2. Pedophiliac says:

    “What about Oñate’s foot? It made an appearance at the Albuquerque protest, quietly and briefly held aloft by Brian Hardgroove, bass player for Public Enemy. This happened minutes before the shooting, steps away from the mayhem that was unfolding. Last time I saw the foot in person was in 2017, when I tracked down the man who cut it off the Alcalde statue in the dead of night back in 1997. That secretive act is still resonating through the decades. Two Oñate statues taken down in two days in New Mexico — and the foot is still out there, turning up in unexpected places.” Simon Romero, NYT National Correspondent and Las Vegas, NM native. (includes photo of foot being held aloft under Teguex Park entrance arch)

  3. aiding & abetting says:

    “I fear that we have some folks in our law enforcement entities who…have promoted, potentially, the efforts of these militia,” Gov. Lujan Grisham says following a rally in New Mexico where a protester was shot by a militia member. “Why did they allow the militia to be present?” (MSNBC June 16 at 6:22 PM)

    “Vigilante Men : New Mexico’s GOP establishment treats border militias as the good guys.” (New Republic 5/9/20)

      • Epilogue says:

        “New Mexico Leaders To Militia: If You Want To Help Community, Stop Showing Up Armed” (NPR 7/7/20)
        …Four members of the Civil Guard recently agreed to an interview around a picnic table in a public park south of Albuquerque, where the sun slanted through the cottonwoods and runners huffed past. They were unarmed and unmasked, except for a young medic named Dakota Farris with a sidearm who said he was there for security.

      • Next says:

        District attorney files lawsuit against NM Civil Guard
        ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- The Bernalillo County district attorney filed a lawsuit Monday against the New Mexico Civil Guard, a group that has showed up at protests in military-like uniforms, carrying guns, and telling people they are there to protect property.
        “When you have self-appointed police officers and military units out there advancing their own form of justice, there is no democratic accountability,” District Attorney Raul Torrez said.
        Torrez says the group still has the right to assemble, and still has the right to own guns and open carry in New Mexico.
        However, he said they don’t have the right to act as police.
        “You don’t have the right to act as an unlicensed and unlawful militia group,” Torrez said.
        Torrez said the lawsuit is the first-of-its-kind in the country, which means there are a lot of unknowns about jurisdiction, what role the federal government will play, and how it could impact other professional protective services. The DA’s office teamed up with a legal group out of Georgetown that helped with litigation after the Charlottesville Unite the Right Rally turned deadly.

  4. p/s says:

    Backlash to ‘revolt of 2020’: Some in New Mexico want statue back up (Reuters UK 7/8/20)
    Meanwhile: “A wooden sculpture of U.S. first lady Melania Trump was torched near her hometown of Sevnica, Slovenia, on the night of July Fourth, as Americans celebrated U.S. Independence Day, said the artist who commissioned the sculpture.”

  5. Update says:

    “New Mexico Republican Stefani Lords, a candidate for the state House of Representatives, told Business Insider she’s pulling out of a rally that is set to pay “special tribute” to the New Mexico Civil Guard.
    As Business Insider reported on Wednesday, the so-called civil guard is a far-right paramilitary group whose founder is a neo-Confederate with a swastika tattoo.”
    See “New Mexico Republicans to pay ‘special tribute’ to militia founded by neo-Confederate, alongside Cowboys for Trump leader who said Black athletes should ‘go back to Africa'”

    “Albuquerque police detain members of the New Mexico Civil Guard, an armed civilian group, following the shooting of a man during a protest over a statue of Spanish conqueror Juan de Oñate on Monday, June 15, 2020, in Albuquerque, New Mexico.” (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/The Albuquerque Journal/AP)

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