News

Protesters Attacked a State Senator and Tore Down a Statue of an Abolitionist in Wisconsin

State Senator Tim Carpenter says he was attacked by a group of protesters who punched and kicked him in the head, neck, and ribs.
June 24, 2020, 11:16am
Twitter/Dylan Brogan​
Twitter/Dylan Brogan

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Protests in Madison, Wisconsin turned violent on Tuesday night after a Black protester was arrested. Protesters tore down two statues and smashed windows at the state house, and allegedly attacked a state senator.

Sen. Tim Carpenter, a Democrat, tweeted on Wednesday morning that he was observing the protests near the Capitol building on Tuesday night and was capturing a video of the incidents when he was attacked.

“I took this pic- it got me assaulted and beat up,” Carpenter tweeted. “Punched/kicked in the head, neck, ribs.”

The video shows a number of protesters running towards Carpenter and grabbing his camera as he films.

Carpenter said between 8 and 10 people attacked him, and that he might have a concussion and that his left eye is a little blurry.

“Innocent people are going to get killed,” Carpenter tweeted, saying the Capitol building was now locked and he was stuck in his office.

A reporter for a local media outlet posted a picture of Carpenter lying on the ground after the assault, saying the senator had collapsed as he walked back towards the Capitol.

Tuesday night’s protests turned violent after a Black protester, Devonere Johnson, was arrested earlier in the day. Police say Johnson was captured on cellphone footage in a restaurant across the road from the Capitol building, holding a bullhorn and a baseball bat, and calling customers “racist.”

“At times, he is speaking in a bullhorn that he positions in very close proximity to patrons and restaurant staff. His actions were disturbing to more than one person at the restaurant,” a statement from the police said.

Johnson resisted arrest, according to the incident report, before he was placed in a squad car. But he escaped and was eventually tackled by police.

In response to Johnson’s arrest, a large group of protesters gathered in downtown Madison chanting demands for his release. The protesters tore down two statues in front of the Capitol building, one of which was of Col. Hans Christian Heg, an anti-slavery activist who fought and died for the Union during the U.S. Civil War. the protesters decapitated the nearly 100-year-old sculpture and threw it into nearby Lake Monona.

The group also pulled down the Forward statue, which the Wisconsin Historical Society says symbolizes devotion and progress, according to WKOW.

Protesters also smashed lights and windows at the Capitol, and set a small fire at the Dane County jail before police arrived shortly before 1 a.m., according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

The Republican leader of the state Assembly, Rep. Robin Vos, called the protesters who knocked down the statues "thugs" and questioned why Gov. Tony Evers hadn’t taken more action.

“This is absolutely despicable,” Vos tweeted. “I am saddened at the cowardice of Madison officials to deal with these thugs. Gov. Evers are you going to finally do something about these protestors committing crimes on state property?”

Cover: Twitter/Dylan Brogan

This article originally appeared on VICE US.