Mayor, some alders ‘placing lives
of officers and civilians at risk’
The Madison police union is considering holding a vote of No Confidence against Mayor Satya Rhodes Conway.
Rank and file police officers are working overtime, being hit with rocks and bottles, and — worse — feeling disrespected by the city’s elected leaders.
The police union issued a statement today (06-02-2020) that declared:
“While the Mayor pitched herself as the one who brings people together, it seems clear today this was never her intent. She, along with this select faction of Alders, are placing the lives and welfare of officers and civilians alike at risk with diatribe that only fuels rhetoric.”
Even conducting such a vote among its members would be an act of bravery for the union, especially considering Madison Professional Police Officers Assn. endorsed the new mayor over then-incumbent Paul Soglin in last year’s election. Compared to many police unions around the nation, the MPPOA keeps a low profile. But city officials — if they are not openly faulting Madison police they are remaining silent in their defense.
Not ‘the rioting must stop’?
On Monday, the mayor thanked the protesters who shut down traffic on John Nolen Drive for six hours, led by taxpayer-paid organizers. “Thank you for being angry,” the mayor said. Rhodes Conway also revealed that she has had “multiple long conversations” with Police Chief Vic Wahl “about the need for de-escalation and restraint.”
Rhodes Conway is Progressive Dane, a local anti-cop political organization. Seven (of 20 total) alders issued a statement calling police efforts to stem two nights of rioting:
“A gross and unnecessary display of force that deepens community divide and mistrust …. Instead of kneeling with protesters, MPD led a militarized police effort that escalated the situation with pepper spray, gassing, injuries, and harmful trauma to youth and others in the downtown area last night.” — “Madison police violence must stop.”
The attack on police was signed by Alds. Marsha Rummel* — the former council president who hounded former police chief Mike Koval — Donna Moreland, Max Prestigiacomo*, Arvina Martin, Tag Evers*, Grant Foster* , and Rebecca Kemble*. ( * Progressive Dane) Their statement found no fault with the rioters.
More incoming tonight
The full Common Council tonight is slated to act on appointing a full-time police auditor — part of a large package of recommendations produced by a Berkeley CA consultant after the Tony Robinson incident in 2015. (More here.) (It should be noted that MPPOA came out with a statement denouncing the Minneapolis police treatment of George Floyd.)
Today’s MPPOA statement reads:
We respect the right to free speech, and to organize for the purposes of free speech. We defend those rights both philosophically and literally as we serve as guardians for those that want to express them lawfully.
What is happing in our city after organized peaceful protests is lawlessness. When law enforcement spends the entire night into the morning hours being hit with projectiles and dodging flaming dumpsters this is not protest, it is lawlessness.
When we’re fielding multiple shots-fired calls, including on State Street, that is not protest. When we’re navigating the broken glass and looting, that is not protest. …
When Alders have the audacity to suggest with such aplomb that these last few nights were a “gross and unnecessary display of force” we notice the language they use to describe it is exactly what creates the community divide and mistrust they suggest they are trying to avoid. …
Each of the last few nights officers arrived and did the very best they could to contain the lawlessness that our Mayor seems to believe is simply an extension of ones’ right to express themselves.
While the Mayor pitched herself as the one who brings people together, it seems clear today this was never her intent. She, along with this select faction of Alders, are placing the lives and welfare of officers and civilians alike at risk with diatribe that only fuels rhetoric.
Blaska’s Bottom Line: Now we’re hearing social justice warriors are harassing law enforcement officials at their homes.