MADISON, WI – After weeks of mostly peaceful protests, violence erupted outside the Madison State Capitol this week.
What’s ironic is that Heg fought for the Union in the Civil War and was a stark opponent of slavery during that time. So, why would protesters for the Black Lives Matter movement tear down a statue of someone who fought to end slavery?
“During the melee, WI state Sen. Tim Carpenter (D) was assaulted after taking a photo of protesters.
"I don't know what happened … all I did was stop and take a picture … and the next thing I'm getting five-six punches, getting kicked in the head” https://t.co/fkNFJ2EfsN
— Josh Kraushaar (@HotlineJosh) June 24, 2020
Not only was the Heg statue torn down, but the 100-year-old sculpture was beheaded and then thrown in Lake Monona. In addition to this, on the podium that was left standing, protesters wrote ‘black is beautiful’ in bold letters.
Demonstrators had been marching around downtown Madison frustrated after the arrest of a protest organizer earlier that day.
The arrest was captured on cell phones from bystanders and shared widely on social media. Madison Police shared additional footage of the incident.
Devonere Johnson, 28, who goes by the name Yeshua Musa, was taken into custody outside the Coopers Tavern where he entered with a bullhorn and a baseball bat. Police have tentatively charged Johnson with disorderly conduct while armed, resisting arrest, and attempted escape.
Witnesses who shared their own video of the arrest questioned whether police should arrest Johnson, who they say was exercising free speech.
As protests ensued, Democratic Senator Tim Carpenter, who is openly gay, was assaulted after filming the protesters.
Carpenter told a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter:
“I don’t know what happened…all I did was stop and take a picture…and the next thing I’m getting five-six punches, getting kicked in the head.”
Carpenter has been a leading proponent of the Black Lives Matter movement.
I took this pic- it got me assaulted & beat up. Punched/kicked in the head, neck, ribs. Maybe concussion, socked in left eye is little blurry, sore neck & ribs. 8-10 people attacked me. Innocent people are going to get killed. Capitol locked- stuck in office.Stop violence nowPlz! pic.twitter.com/Zw2hdfYG66
— Tim Carpenter (@TimCarpenterMKE) June 24, 2020
Protesters were chanting for the release of Johnson, who was arrested earlier.
In addition to smashing the windows and lights at the state house, tearing down two iconic statues, and assaulting a state senator, protesters set a small fire at the Dane County jail before police arrived just before 1 a.m.
Protesters threw bricks at police as they intervened, injuring at least seven law enforcement officials, according to the Milwaukee Police Department. Madison Police confirmed there were roughly 200 to 300 protesters within the crowd that ultimately became violent.
Governor Tony Evers toured the damage from Tuesday night and said the violence was in “stark contrast” to earlier peaceful protests.
The governor said:
“I want to be clear: violence against any person, whether in the middle of the street in broad daylight, at home trying to sleep, going for a run, or happening upon a protest as was the case last night, is wrong…it should never be tolerated.”
Evers also said that those responsible for assaulting Senator Carpenter would be held accountable.
The crazy radicals aren’t angry over racial inequality
They hate America & want to destroy it
Last night in Wisconsin they smashed windows at the statehouse,attacked a state senator & tore down a statue of an abolitionist who died trying to end slaveryhttps://t.co/DNQkVQvLae https://t.co/3BfrHwBaMg
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) June 24, 2020
In another statement to protesters on WTMJ-AM, Evers said:
“If your goal was to advance social justice and policing reforms in the state of Wisconsin and making sure systematic racism is a thing of the past, you failed.”
Madison Alderman Paul Skidmore said in a statement:
Republican state law makers and others faulted Evers and Madison’s Democratic mayor for not moving more quickly on Tuesday to quell the violence. “Downtown Madison is a battle zone right now and I fear for my city.
Additionally, Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales said at a press conference:
“Three victims were shot during this event, none by police…what you had today was vigilantism.”
Cities all over the world are just letting rioters deface, vandalize, and tear down their monuments. Not so in Washington, DC.
On Wednesday, the Trump administration activated the National Guard to protect monuments in the nation’s capital amid violent protests across the country.
According to Fox News, Interior Secretary David Bernhardt requested the action earlier this week.
This, as protesters continue to target statues and other historical markers across the country during demonstrations that have been ongoing since George Floyd’s police custody death in Minneapolis at the end of May.
Fox News reported that the Pentagon confirmed there are approximately 400 D.C. Guard members activated and on standby.
National Guard spokesman Major Robert Perino told CNN the “District of Columbia National Guard is responding to a request to support law enforcement officials and has dispatched unarmed personnel, with others on stand-by” and that “activated Guardsmen are expected to provide security for local monuments and critical infrastructure.”
Pentagon spokesperson Lt. Col. Christian Mitchell said in a statement that the Guard members “will support U.S. Park Police at key monuments to prevent any defacing or destruction.”
He further noted that they are not armed, but will serve as “uniformed deterrence” and support “crowd management capacity.”
Last Friday, a statue of Confederate leader Albert Pike was toppled by protestors near the city’s police headquarters, and an unsuccessful attempt was made to destroy a statue of President Andrew Jackson near the White House, according to New York Post.
NBC Washington reported that Trump said the people who tried to topple Jackson’s statue were “vandals,” “anarchists” and “agitators” and that “they’re bad people. They don’t love our country and they’re not taking down our monuments.”
President Trump warned activists they could face 10 years in prison under the Veterans’ Memorial Preservation Act.
Earlier in the month, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser was not happy about the presence of Guard troops in the nation’s capital.
In a June 4 letter to President Trump, Bowser requested the removal of “all extraordinary federal law enforcement and military presence from Washington, DC,” and stated they were “inflaming demonstrators and adding to the grievances of those who, by and large, are peacefully protesting for change and for reforms to the racist and broken systems that are killing Black Americans.”
Trump retorted to Bowser in a June 5 tweet:
“The incompetent Mayor of Washington, D.C., @MayorBowser, who’s budget is totally out of control and is constantly coming back to us for ‘handouts’, is now fighting with the National Guard, who saved her from great embarrassment….”
The incompetent Mayor of Washington, D.C., @MayorBowser, who’s budget is totally out of control and is constantly coming back to us for “handouts”, is now fighting with the National Guard, who saved her from great embarrassment…
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 5, 2020
Attorney General William Barr also responded to Bowser in a letter, saying that the presence of federal law enforcement and National Guard troops were necessary in the city because the unrest had hit unprecedented and dangerous levels in the nation’s capital, according to CNN.
At Trump’s June 20 campaign rally in Tulsa, OK, he criticized Bowser again:
“They ripped down a statue that was 110-years-old. Beautiful piece of art. In front of a police precinct with our radical left mayor watching on television. We’re not happy. That’s going to be very expensive for D.C. ‘We need more money. We always need more money’. And then they don’t do the proper job. So, it’s not gonna be good for Mayor Bowser.”
The mayor later tweeted a childish response:
“I see @AOC and I are living in his head, and apparently there’s a lot of empty room in there… just like tonight’s half empty Tulsa arena.”
I see @AOC and I are living in his head, and apparently there’s a lot of empty room in there… just like tonight’s half empty Tulsa arena.
— Muriel Bowser (@MurielBowser) June 21, 2020
Guard troops are not on the streets yet and have thus far stayed in their barracks, but they will be ready to be deployed and are expected to remain in the capital through July 4, according to CNN.
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