Empower Wisconsin | July 13, 2020
By M.D. Kittle
MADISON — Gov. Tony Evers’ excuses about his waffling response to last month’s Madison riots are getting harder to buy.
As Empower Wisconsin first reported last week, Evers ordered the Wisconsin State Capitol Police to remain in the Statehouse as Black Lives Matter demonstrators smashed windows, toppled iconic statues and beat the hell out of a state senator.
“What Gov. Evers said to me is, he kept the Capitol Police inside the building, as the protesters were breaking out the windows, to protect the building,” state Rep. Mary Felzkowski (R-Irma) told Empower Wisconsin. Felzkowski said she spoke to the governor on Thursday, June 25, the day after the riot came to an end.
“He said, “Mary, we’d still be looking for the rioters today (on that Thursday) in the Capitol. They’d be hiding all over,’” Felzkowski said. “He was very proud of what he did and felt it was justified.”
Evers could have called up the Wisconsin State Patrol to assist. Felzkowski said the governor told her “the response time would be too long.”
A state official familiar with the operations of the State Patrol says the governor’s excuse doesn’t hold up. The source, who asked not to be identified, said dozens of Patrol officers from the Southwest Region in Deforest could have been on scene in less than an hour. They respond to such events in teams of 13, he said.
They could have been there to assist had the governor wanted them there, and probably could have prevented at least some of the untold thousands of dollars done to state property, the source said.
State Patrol officers from Deforest rapidly responded when former Gov. Scott Walker called on them to assist in securing the Capitol grounds during the left’s massive protests against Act 10.
“They always have prided themselves on being able to quickly respond,” the state official said.
But state law enforcement seems to have a more “sensitive” mission these days under Evers.
The liberal governor’s team at the state Department of Administration crafted a new mission statement for the Capitol Police: “People serving people with dignity and respect, while providing competent and compassionate law enforcement efforts.”
One of the police force’s guiding core values is to be “sensitive to the needs and concerns of our clients.”
“We will show empathy and caring for victims, complainants, and all people we meet.”
And the department notes that it will use “the minimum amount of force necessary in all situations that escalate above open dialogue.”
The Capitol Police certainly used the “minimum amount of force” during the riots, cowering inside the Statehouse while a mob of protesters smashed Capitol windows, tore down statues and assaulted State Sen. Tim Carpenter (D-Milwaukee).
The State Patrol’s mission statement: To provide exceptional public safety services.
Evers did finally call up members of the Wisconsin Army National Guard, the morning after the long violent night, to “serve in a limited authorization.”
His call was quite limited. Evers quickly sent them home.
Felzkowski asked the governor why he didn’t keep them in place, given all of the civil unrest.
“He said, ‘I can’t just deploy them forever. They have jobs and families to go back to,’” Felzkowski recalled. “I said, ‘As the Guard’s Commander-in-Chief you have the authority.’ He said, ‘Mary, what if there’s a riot up in Green Bay. Do you expect me to send the National Guard to Green Bay?’ I said, ‘Absolutely.’”
Empower Wisconsin has filed an open records request with the governor’s office seeking all communications between the office and the State Patrol, Capitol Police, and the Wisconsin Army National Guard. A spokeswoman for Evers has not answered a request for comment. An official with the State Patrol said someone would return Empower Wisconsin request for comment on Friday. No one did.