Cops told to stand down as Madison burned

Empower Wisconsin | June 8, 2020

By M.D. Kittle 

MADISON — While downtown Madison was being destroyed by rioters, looters and anarchists last week, cops on the front lines were ordered to “release the criminals” by pandering police and political leaders, front line officers say. 

Paula Fitzsimmons, creator of the blog We Support Madison Police spoke to rank-and-file police officers who shared horrifying stories about police command’s orders to stand down during some of the most violent moments of last week’s protests. She detailed their accounts in a blog post.

Some officers also spoke to Empower Wisconsin, expressing their aggravation about the lack of support from police and city leaders, many of whom have degraded the police force while kowtowing to radical left activists.  

In one incident, a group of suspects defaced the Wisconsin Law Enforcement Memorial near the State Capitol. It marked the second time in less than three years the monument to the hundreds of law enforcers killed in the line of duty had been vandalized. 

Police officers who spoke to Fitzsimmons said commanders ordered them to not intervene, even though the crime was happening right before their eyes. The officers pursued the suspects after they left the area. They asked again for permission from command staff to make arrests. 

“This request was denied, and we were ordered to release the criminals,” one officer told Fitzsimmons. 

One officer said police leadership was concerned that police doing their jobs would “trigger rioters.” 

“Our command post then passed down the order that we would not be making any arrests at all, even of suspects that were able to be taken out of the area,” the officer said. 

And perhaps this is the most disturbing detail. 

“We later spotted a suspect from a robbery/sexual assault case whose information had been disseminated earlier, so there was probable cause to arrest that person,” the officer said. 

Commanders again denied the officers’ request to arrest. 

“Even after units followed him out of the area, the command post denied our requests to take him into custody because they didn’t want the news to get back to (a known area police critic). This person literally has as much sway over the police department as the mayor,” the officer said. 

If the account is true, asking officers to stand down in the arrest of a suspected sexual predator is criminal dereliction of duty from police department commanders apparently held hostage by political fear. It is tantamount to defunding or eliminating police departments, the insane demand by the same radical leftists leading many of the protests — and the liberal city leaders coddling the purveyors of such irrationality. 

In another incident, police watched as “Molotov cocktails were assembled on the Capitol Square.” 

“We have PD members and the SWAT team right down the street begging to intervene,” the officer said. Again, they were told to stand down. 

Kelly Powers, president of the Madison Professional Police Officers Association, said he’s not aware of some of the incidents Fitzsimmons described, but he acknowledges there are “a lot of frustrated cops right now.” He said law enforcement have monitored criminal activity closely and have made follow-up arrests later. 

The department is in a damned if they do, damned if they don’t position right now. It’s walking a collapsing thin line between keeping order and escalating the violence from “peaceful protesters. All the while, they’re battling a false narrative that all cops are racist and abusive. 

One officer told Empower Wisconsin that it puts police in a position of “pandering,” or at least forcing them to do the pandering of liberal politicians. 

Powers said he understands the concerns of some of the government leaders, whether they’re local, state or federal officials. 

“Once you become the one who speaks contrary to what the narrative is right now, you wind up being concerned about who is going to show up at your doorstep,” the police union leader said. “It’s frustrating to us, There comes a point in time to stand up for things, and rightfully so. But this is not going to get resolved with hashtags. It’s going to get resolved by people speaking up broadly and consistently” for law and order.  

Many of Madison’s finest have logged long hours during the demonstrations ostensibly against police violence. One police officer told Empower Wisconsin he’s been “burning the candle at both ends” for days, with some cops working 16 or 18 hours. They have been screamed at, spit on, and made the object of scorn in the wake of the death of George Floyd, a middle-aged black man, at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer. During the worst flareups, rioters and looters swarmed downtown Madison and damaged or destroyed scores of businesses, assaulted innocent bystanders, and set on fire a squad car. 

“They are exhausted. Their bodies are broken and their spirits are broken,” Fitzsimmons told Empower Wisconsin Sunday. 

Listen to more:

Explore More

  • Senators re-introduce No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act

    Empower Wisconsin | Jan. 27, 2023 The No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, the lawmakers say, attempts to clean up…

  • All Woke Up: ‘Affirming care’ for sadomasochists

    Empower Wisconsin | Jan. 27, 2023 The Hippocratic Oath doesn’t include a command that physicians provide “affirming care” for patients…

  • PowerUp: Big Money Left all in on Wisconsin Supreme Court race

    Empower Wisconsin January 27, 2023 The national left is all in on Wisconsin’s crucial Supreme Court race, a contest that…

  • Fiscal hawks demand fiscal reform for debt ceiling deal

    Empower Wisconsin Jan. 26, 2023 Fiscal hawks in the Senate reiterated their demands for fiscal reforms and spending cuts Tuesday…

  • Evers signals big spending ahead in State of the State

    Empower Wisconsin Jan. 25, 2023 By M.D. Kittle MADISON — In his fifth State of the State address Tuesday evening,…

  • Spotlight| Study: Choice schools outperforming public peers

    By M.D. Kittle MADISON — On this National School Choice Week, a new study by the Wisconsin Institute for Law…

  1. Cjbadger Avatar

    Tony Evers time to grow a pair !!!!! Why do you let criminals vandalize our capital? No reason not to arrest people for violence or property destruction! March in peaceful protest no worries . Destruction of property or looting? It’s simple arrest them Don’t accuse all officers for horrible decisions in another state Tony it’s about time to put your big boy pants on and be a leader not a puppet

  2. David washack Avatar
    David washack

    Maybe “MadCity” will secede from Wisconsin and form The Peoples Republic of Black Lives Matter? See ya!!!

  3. Anthony Cecchi Avatar
    Anthony Cecchi

    Who by name instructed the commanders to stand down ?
    That is missing from the story. Name the culprit.

  4. David Washack Avatar
    David Washack

    I hear Cambodia has got some old Pol Pot statues they haven’t scrapped yet! Maybe Mad City can acquire same!!!

  5. Nathan Neumann Avatar
    Nathan Neumann

    This is where armed citizens need to step in and take care of business with rioters. Let the police off the hook so to speak. Because if the left wing democrats won’t protect property then armed citizens will.

  6. Walter Fitzgerald Avatar
    Walter Fitzgerald

    It’s been found that both George Floyd and Breonna Taylor were both criminals prior to their deaths.
    While it’s unfortunate they were killed, why would anyone elevate their status to that of a hero, an exceptional human being?
    It makes no sense, unless it’s really not about race, but rather the 2020 Election.
    The Left has turned to violence and any means they can get away with to grab back the reins of power and control over the people.
    Almost every city that is experiencing extreme violence is Democrat run. It’s also where minorities, especially black, are oppressed the most.
    So who are the real racists…?

  7. Katherine J Magyera Avatar
    Katherine J Magyera


  8. Katherine J Magyera Avatar
    Katherine J Magyera

    we need new governor!!!

  9. Joan Littel Avatar
    Joan Littel

    God love you! I’m 87 years old with a grandson with the National guard protecting Milwaukee! D not understand people of today! Thank you for your work!

  10. Harold Wilkes Avatar
    Harold Wilkes

    Disgusting – the entire city administration should be removed and barred from ever serving in any position in government at any time in the future. But maybe the lawsuits against the city and individuals will take care of that for us – the damage done and injuries incurred were certainly not “Acts Of God” and insurers will go after the guilty parties for compensation for claims. Then the cowards and incompetents can be incarcerated, bankrupted and maybe even sent to New York to serve their sentences. Their actions were a disgrace to Wisconsin and the USA.

  11. Mike Avatar

    No – insurance companies simply won’t COVER the destruction, there’s no way they could…the taxpayer will once again foot the bill, doubtless under some catchy “Rebuilding Wisconsin” campaign…people need to do more than vote (they STOLE our last Supreme Court election with the mail-in scam) – we need to organize, and be heard – like the “protestors”…what will it take ?… maybe the suggestion that police forces be disbanded here, like they’re trying in Minneapolis – if people have had enough, they need to act like it – otherwise, submit to your rulers and shut up.

  12. Harry Avatar

    Liberalism at it’s finest! Just like all the other cities that have been run by liberals for years. Feel safe now?

  13. Barb Avatar

    Every single law officer should walk away and let them deal with the crime in that scum city they call Madison

  14. Pete Churchill Avatar
    Pete Churchill

    Ican’t believe that we are in the 20th cent. and they let this happen.Too bad they don’t have an election for these so called liberal fools.

  15. Emme Avatar

    America – The new Venezuela

  16. E Maria Avatar
    E Maria

    Mad City has been politically left-wing for decades. I have family who live there and they’ve been Dems for decades, huge Obama & Hillary supporters. I’d like to ask them, how do you like your Democrat party now !

  17. Judith A. Arnold Avatar
    Judith A. Arnold

    It breaks my heart to see what is happening to my home town. It used to be a safe, secure and beautiful place to live. So very happy that I no longer live there. What is happening to our America is so very frightening, I fear for my grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Their future is grim, scary and when they think they will have freedom, they will find out that will be far from the truth.

  18. Rick Cremer Avatar
    Rick Cremer

    you can see who is in bed with these officials, back the police and vote the useless
    officials out, starting with the Governor on down

  19. Russell Rought Avatar
    Russell Rought

    Who is the “known area police critic”? I would like to know who this is.

  20. Timothy Rookey Avatar
    Timothy Rookey

    It’s disgraceful that the police were given orders to stand down and let the looters run State Street for the two nights during which they busted every window in sight and stole an incredible amount of merchandise from already hurting businesses! Madison’s leaders are pansy asses and bow to the agents of anarchy, especially the current bunch of left wing die hards in City Hall. I hate to say that but it’s true. Those merchants should sue the city for gross negligence for not protecting their property. Law and order is not on the menu in Madison.

  21. Lisa Avatar

    Absolutely ridicules. All police officers take an oath to protect and serve. If the men in charge are too afraid to do their job then the National Guard should come in and do it for them while they are escorted out of the station. They put innocent lives at risk. I want to know who that police critic is because that person should be shamed.

  22. David Laughlin Avatar
    David Laughlin

    This story make absolutely no sense.
    A police officer says “he’s been burning the candle at both ends 16 to 18 hours a day”
    Paula Fitzsimmons says “the police are exhausted, Their bodies are broken.”
    What are they exhausted from? How can their bodies be broken?
    If they are told to stand down and are not being able to do their job what the hell are they doing there?
    I am confused!

  23. Rev. Dennis Avatar
    Rev. Dennis

    Common sense and experience tell us that if the violent and destructive are not confronted and contained, they will be emboldened to do more. The police should warn people in advance that strong measures even lethal, will be used on those who loot and destroy. The violent respect strength and resolve.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *