SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – A number of people have been posting pictures of a man on social media, saying he’s harassing and threatening local vendors who appear to be Hispanic — and he does it while carrying a gun on his hip. They want police to step in, but police say he hasn’t broken the law.
Foot traffic on the Santa Fe Plaza was heavier than usual as local vendors set up for the Indian Market.
“The diversity is high. We’ve got a lot of tourists. It’s a good tourist attraction,” local Kathy Rivera said.
But reports of an unwelcome attraction on the plaza have gotten a lot of attention on social media. In less than 24 hours, photos of a man wearing a Trump shirt, and sometimes a Trump hat, with a gun on his hip, have been shared thousands of times.
“He’s been open carrying wearing a political type t-shirt, and also we’ve had allegations that he was not being so nice to people,” Santa Fe Police Deputy Chief Ben Valdez said.
Santa Fe police say they are aware of this individual but haven’t received any formal complaints from victims. But witnesses are posting about it plenty on Facebook, saying the man has been asking Hispanic vendors and musicians about their immigration status. They also say he’s been showing up to protests for immigration rights.
While carrying a gun on your hip is perfectly legal in New Mexico, people believe the way he’s doing it isn’t right.
“It’s not in good taste in my opinion. I’m a concealed carry permit holder myself, I’m all about the second amendment. But using it for a way of intimidating and using it as a display of force and not being in an actual police force, I’m not a fan of that,” Rivera said.
“Based on the information they’re providing, it is cause for concern. So we ask that those that were subjected to that kind of treatment to report it to us in a timely manner so we can investigate,” Deputy Chief Valdez said.
Police say at this point, they have not found that this man has committed a crime, but will continue to investigate. KRQE news 13 did learn the man’s identity and called him Friday.
He was unavailable for an interview but said the claims being made about him are false and it’s his right to carry a gun. He didn’t explain why he chooses to keep showing up at the plaza.
The photos caught the attention of Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, who called the harassment completely unacceptable. The mayor also posted a statement saying, “we are a tolerant, diverse and inclusive city” and let people know the city is investigating.