Hamilton Police have arrested a 56-year-old Toronto male in connection with a mischief incident in Gore Park.
On August 15, 2021, several images of suspects believed to be involved in the mischief were released to the media. As a result, Hamilton Police received numerous tips to help identify the suspect and grounds were established to arrest a 56-year-old male from Toronto.
The person charged with mischief over $5,000 is Miguel Martin Avila-Valarde of Toronto. His Facebook page shows a picture of the statue being pulled down. He describes himself as being born in Peru, indigenous, a former CUPE steward, and active in tenants rights and police monitoring.
He was released on an undertaking and will appear in court at a later date.
In June Avila-Valarde posted a picture of himself and Skyler Williams the leader of the Caledonia blockade posing with a the head from the statue of Egerton Ryerson which has vandalized earlier this summer. He also posted a picture on Facebook of him smashing the head off of the statue and called himself the “statue slayer” in another post.
On Saturday, August 14, 2021, approximately 200 individuals attended the Indigenous Freedom Rally, which began at City Hall and then moved to Gore Park. Around 2:15 p.m., a female was seen scaling the statue to tie ropes, which were then used to pull the statue down. There were no reported injuries. Once the statue was on the ground, further damage was caused using spray paint, a hammer, and a grinder. The damage is estimated to be in excess of $5,000.
Due to the size of the crowd, police remained on scene to monitor the event. The crowd eventually dispersed at 3:00 p.m.
Hamilton Police say the investigation is ongoing and Hamilton Police anticipate laying further charges They are asking anyone with information that can help with this investigation,to please call Detective Sergeant Dave Oleniuk at 905-546-3833. Or call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or submit an anonymous tip online at www.crimestoppershamilton.com.