TIERRA AMARILLA, New Mexico (Reuters) -A New Mexico man on Friday claimed self-defense within the capturing of an Indigenous activist at a protest over plans to reinstall the statue of a sixteenth century Spanish colonial ruler.
Ryan Martinez, 23, of Sandia Park pleaded not responsible to costs of tried homicide and aggravated assault within the Sept. 28 capturing of Jacob Johns, 42, of Spokane, Washington.
Police say Martinez was attempting to disrupt a peaceable occasion celebrating postponement by county commissioners of a ceremony to reinstate the statue of Juan de Onate, the realm’s first colonial governor, over security considerations following protests. The statue, positioned simply north of Espanola, New Mexico, was eliminated in 2020 throughout nationwide anti-racism protests. The capturing occurred in Espanola, the place the statue was to be reinstalled.
Nicole Moss, Martinez’s lawyer, mentioned through the listening to her consumer, sporting a pink hat bearing the Donald Trump slogan “Make America Nice Once more,” was peacefully taking pictures and video when he was pushed after which attacked by protesters.
She mentioned protesters against the statue didn’t like Martinez’s presence due to his MAGA hat.
Video performed in courtroom confirmed a protester grabbing Martinez across the neck and pushing him towards a low wall earlier than Martinez drew a handgun from the waistband of his pants.
“He fired one shot at Mr. Johns in self-defense,” Moss mentioned.
Previous to the capturing Martinez advised a police officer and protesters to “fuck off” after they approached him, Rio Arriba County Sheriff’s Deputy Steve Dennis testified.
Protest organizer Mateo Peixinho mentioned he requested Martinez previous to the capturing why he had come to the occasion.
“He mentioned he was pissed off and offended on the county commissioners for permitting a number of Indian protesters to cease them from doing what they wanted to do,” mentioned Peixinho.
A medic testified that Johns was shot within the higher stomach and admitted to the College of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque as a Stage 1 trauma affected person.
It was the most recent violence round statues to Onate erected within the Nineteen Nineties to commemorate the four-hundredth anniversary of the arrival of Spaniards.
The monuments have lengthy outraged Native Individuals and others who decry Onate’s brutal 1598 colonization.
Some descendants of Spanish colonial settlers, often known as Hispanos, say Onate needs to be celebrated as a part of New Mexico’s Hispanic heritage.
(Reporting by Andrew Hay in Tierra Amarilla, New MexicoEditing by Donna Bryson and Matthew Lewis)
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