The activist charged with toppling the Christopher Columbus statue at the state Capitol in June will not serve prison time due to a restorative justice program that will instead require he complete 100 hours community service, The Daily Caller reports.
Michael Anthony Forcia, 57, was charged with one count of felony criminal damage to property for his involvement in toppling the statue on June 10, shortly after the death of George Floyd that caused widespread civil unrest in Minneapolis, according to CBS Minnesota.
“The punishment for a conviction of someone with no criminal history is a probationary sentence with supervision of up to five years, Forcia will instead serve 100 hours of community service after Ramsey County Attorney John Choi initiated a restorative justice process,” according to The Daily Caller.
As part of the process, Forcia acknowledged how his actions hurt others, such as Italian Americans who consider Columbus a part of Italian heritage in the country.
“I learned about what the statue meant to Italian Americans when it was erected and for their struggle for acceptance,” Forcia wrote in a statement. “I understand my actions caused harm to those who felt this was an attack on their community,” KARE 11 reported.
Forcia also wrote that he recognized the importance of the rule of law.
“The rule of law is an essential element to a peaceful society. I broke the law and was prepared to accept the consequences when I did that,” the statement said. “By my actions and service going forward, with the help of those from the circle who have offered their support, I will work to restore community peace and seek to repair the harm that I have caused.”
The groups claimed that jail time would serve no purpose, but suggested acknowledging the toppling of the statue as an act of civil disobedience.
John Choi says that the goal of justice should be to unite a community rather than divide it, The Daily Caller reported.