Wisconsin state senator ‘kicked in the head’ during protests
A Democratic state senator in Wisconsin said he was assaulted by protesters and “kicked in the head” on Tuesday night when he filmed a contentious demonstration outside the state Capitol.
State Sen. Tim Carpenter (D) said he was heading to the Capitol to work late when he stopped to snap a photo of protesters who suddenly confronted him.
“Punched/kicked in the head, neck, ribs. Maybe concussion, socked in left eye is little blurry, sore neck & ribs,” he wrote on Twitter.
The lawmaker’s tweet was in response to an image from WKOW reporter Lance Veeser who shared a picture of a man identified as Carpenter lying in shrubs.
“We called paramedics. An ambulance is here now,” Veeser wrote.
In the 11-second clip shared by Carpenter, several protesters wearing face masks quickly approach him and tell him not to record before reaching for his phone.
Carpenter could be heard telling them to leave his phone alone before the video cuts out.
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
“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 told a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter.
Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) wrote in a statement that “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,” the governor said. “Any single act of injustice against one person is less justice for all of us, and the people who committed these acts of violence will be held accountable.”
Any single act of injustice against one person is less justice for all of us, and the people who committed these acts of violence will be held accountable. My thoughts are with @TimCarpenterMKE who was among the individuals attacked last night and wish him a quick recovery.
— Governor Tony Evers (@GovEvers) June 24, 2020
The Journal Sentinel reported that protesters smashed windows at the statehouse and set a small fire at the Dance County jail. Officers used pepper spray to prevent protesters from entering the Capitol building, according to Madison police.
Evers said he is prepared to activate the Wisconsin National Guard to protect state buildings and infrastructure if similar protests break out in the future.
Demonstrators also tore down two statues, including Wisconsin’s motto “Forward” and the likeness of Col. Hans Christian Heg. Heg was a Norwegian migrant and an abolitionist who died for the Union Army during the Civil War.
The “Forward” statue stood outside of the state Capitol and is a symbol of progress and devotion, according to the Wisconsin Historical Society.
Lady Forward statute has been removed by protesters at the Wisconsin State Capitol. Statue is now in the middle of the street. pic.twitter.com/aqgbuEsojl
— Dylan Brogan (@telldylan) June 24, 2020
— Michelle Alfini (@MichelleAlf) June 24, 2020
Other cities have seen the toppling of controversial figures such as Confederate generals, Christopher Columbus and slave owners.
The unrest in Madison was reportedly prompted by the arrest of Devonere Johnson, a Black man who brought a megaphone and a baseball bat into a nearby restaurant.
“Officers attempted to place him under arrest for his actions inside the restaurant,” the Madison police officers wrote in a report obtained by the outlet. “Johnson resisted arrest and struggled with officers … Johnson was able to push past officers and escape from the squad car before being tackled as he attempted to escape.”
The news also comes amid national protests against police brutality and racial injustice following the death of George Floyd last month in Minneapolis during an arrest.