Tackling Columbus, Systemic Failures in Equity: A Closer Look at State v. Forcia

Event Description

HCBA Diversity Committee | May 2022 CLE Series on Racial Equity and Justice

Special thanks to Cresston Gackle, for their extensive efforts in coordinating the series


Registration deadline: 5/24. To register after that time, please email eryan@mnbars.org.

Civil unrest following the murder of George Floyd in 2020 led to protests across the nation, one of which resulted in the toppling of the Christopher Columbus statue on the grounds of the Minnesota State Capitol by American Indian Movement activist Michael Forcia. Mr. Forcia was charged with felony Criminal Damage to Property.

Criminal defense attorney, Jack Rice, and public health law attorney, Willow Anderson, joined forces to take on this case pro bono.  Working with the Ramsey County Attorney's Office, they collaborated with community leaders to determine a restorative justice process that would give voice to community members on how to best hold Mr. Forcia accountable while healing the community and discussing the multiple branches of failure that led to this action. 

In dismissing the charges, Chief Judge Leonardo Castro stated, “True justice and healing are rarely achieved but I sincerely believe that it was so in this case.  It would have been simple to charge, convict, and punish.  But the more difficult road towards reflection, learning, and healing was taken, and the result will bear fruit forever.  I congratulate you all for your wisdom and courage.”


Jack Rice | Board Certified Criminal Law Specialist, Founder Jack Rice Defense

Jack Rice is a Board Certified Criminal Law Specialist and founder of Jack Rice Defense.  He is a former Prosecutor and a CIA Officer. Jack is passionate about his work representing the accused.

Willow Najjar Anderson | Senior Staff Attorney, Public Health Law Center

Willow Najjar Anderson is a Senior Staff Attorney at the Public Health Law Center.  She specializes in health through the power of law and policy.  She is a Minnesota Supreme Court Certified Mediator and Qualified Neutral and former Assistant Attorney General.

Jack and Willow were awarded “Attorneys of the Year as a Team” by Minnesota Lawyer for their representation of Michael Forcia, the Native American activist who toppled the Christopher Columbus statue on the grounds of the Minnesota State Capitol.

CLE Credits:

1.0 Standard CLE Credit | Event Code: 461586


HCBA Member:  $0
Non-HCBA Member:  $40
Law Student/New Admittee: Free 


Questions? Contact Erikka Ryan | eryan@mnbars.org

The HCBA is committed to creating an inclusive environment in which all members can participate fully. If you need reasonable accommodations to participate in this event, please notify eryan@mnbars.org . Please provide notification at least 72 hours prior to the meeting to allow sufficient time to make arrangements for accommodations. Thank you.

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Pre-Registration is Closed

Thursday, May 26, 2022

12:00 PM to 1:00 PM

Zoom / Live Webinar