For Immediate Release
Date: October 13, 2020 12:00 PM
Case Number: SR20-06974
Five Arrested for Church Statue Vandalism
San Rafael, CA – The San Rafael Police Department was aware of and monitored a protest that resulted in the vandalism and destruction of the Junipero Serra statue at Saint Raphael's Church in San Rafael. SRPD arrested the five suspects responsible and will forward the case to the Marin County District Attorney's Office for prosecution.
A week prior, the San Rafael Police Department received information via social media that a planned protest called for the vandalism and possible removal of the Junipero Serra statue on Saint Raphael's Church's private property.
We worked with representatives from the Archdiocese of San Francisco to develop a plan in response to the protest. The Archdiocese requested that we use de-escalation techniques and minimize interactions that could lead to the use of force against protestors. The Archdiocese supported a civil protest and stated that they wanted to prosecute any offenders who damaged or vandalized their property.
During the planning process, it was recognized that the main priority would be to safeguard individuals from violence. A decision was made not to get directly involved in or interact with the demonstration as it was not our intention to inflame or escalate behaviors during the protest.
On Monday, 10/12/2020, at 5:00 PM, officers were deployed in and around the surrounding area to monitor and document the protest activities as they progressed. At the peak of the protest, there were an estimated 40 to 45 participants.
At 5:30 PM, two suspects approached the statue and threw red paint on it. Additional suspects became involved and removed the protective tape covering that had been applied to protect the statue. The suspects used red spray paint to vandalize the statue. Several minutes later, suspects tied a cargo strap and ropes around the statue and began trying to pull it down.
At 5:45 PM, the group of suspects were able to pull the statue down. SRPD Officers remained on the perimeter and kept surveillance of those involved with the vandalism of the statue.
As the suspects left the protest location, they were contacted away from the other participants' views. This tactic was used to keep the peace and avoid conflict with multiple protestors and police officers.
Ines Shiam Gardilcic, a 40-year-old Oakland resident, Victoria Eva Montanopena, a 29-year-old Oakland resident, Melissa Aguilar, a 36-year-old Novato resident, Mayorgi Nadeska Delgadillo, a 36-year-old San Rafael resident, and Moira Cribben Van de Walker, a 25-year-old San Anselmo resident were all arrested for felony vandalism. There were issued citations and released. The vandalism case is being forwarded to the Marin District Attorney's Office for prosecution.
The San Rafael Police Department takes all criminal matters seriously. During this incident and the subsequent destruction of the statue, it was considered that the statue could be replaced or repaired and that the importance of using sound judgment and de-escalation techniques was paramount to preventing physical interactions between officers and protestors.
Anyone with information about this crime is asked to call San Rafael Police at (415) 485-3000. Tips can also be made online at http://www.srpd.org/tips.
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Posted: October 13, 2020 12:14 PDT by Sergeant Justin Graham #494