Empower Wisconsin | April 20, 2020
By M.D. Kittle and Joshua Waldoch
MADISON — The police state is making its presence known in the pandemic, even as coronavirus cases decline.
Nationwide, the examples are exceeding egregious.
“The criminalization of movement ends with ten Philly cops dragging a passenger off a bus for not wearing a face mask. It ends with local Brighton, Colo., cops handcuffing a father in front of his family for playing T-ball with his daughter in an empty park. It ends with three Massachusetts men being arrested, and facing the possibility of 90 days in jail, for crossing state lines and golfing — a sport built for social distancing — in Rhode Island,” David Harsanyi wrote last week in National Review.
Wisconsin, too, has seen the coronavirus cops target its citizenry.
Earlier this month Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales planned to use the pandemic to fight the city’s usual spate of violent crime. He said his department would begin charging suspects and victims alike with violating Wisconsin’s “safer at home” order” if they were found to be outside of their homes or non-essential business, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
“As we continue to fight this pandemic, it angers me that some individuals are not taking the spread of COVID-19 as seriously as they should. Some individuals are choosing to go out and commit crimes and some are choosing to go out and partake in activities that lead up to their own victimization or the victimization of others,” Morales told the newspaper.
Just now many arrests have Milwaukee police made so far? The department wouldn’t say without an open records request. Empower Wisconsin has filed a request.
Fond du Lac County
Fond du Lac County District Attorney Eric Toney early on charged a dozen people with violating Evers’ Executive #12, social-distancing order. Rodney Emerson, owner of the Hip Hop Shop, is accused of staying open after the order shutting down all “non-essential” businesses was issued. Emerson allegedly hosted a party with more than 20 people, in violation of the six-feet social distancing order. Five others were arrested, too.
In another case, three people were charged for serving food and drinks at the Bar at Sunset on the Water in Taycheedah in violation of the order.
In Dane County, a JoAnn Fabric store was issued a cease-and-desist letter. A JoAnn Fabric spokeswoman told the Wisconsin State Journal that the company would close all of its stores in Wisconsin as directed but other states had deemed such retailers as “essential.” Evers’ new extended lockdown order allows arts-and-crafts stores to operate, with strict limitations.
Foster Funeral and Cremation Service in Madison also received a warning letter. The newspaper reported the southside funeral home hosted “gatherings” of between 60 and 75 people and 35 and 30 people at a cemetery and in the funeral home’s parking lot. Those “gatherings” were of mourners burying their loved ones.
“The letter notes that the state has clarified that “safer at home” restrictions apply to outdoor gatherings,” the State Journal reported.
Violators face 30 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000 in Madison.
In Marquette County, the sheriff and his patrol sergeant threatened to arrest a 16-year-old girl if she didn’t remove her Instagram post declaring that she had COVID-19. Her doctors told her she had COVID-19, according to a First Amendment lawsuit iled against the law enforcement officials.
Social justice murder
The social justice crowd, meanwhile, has demanded, corrections officials release convicted criminals from jails and prisons to stop the spread of coronavirus among inmates. In Florida, a man who was released from jail to escape COVID-19 was arrested a week later on charges including homicide.
Joseph Edward Williams was released March 19 following the issuance of an administrative order aimed at lowering the risk of COVID-19 spread within the Hillsborough County jail, police said. Williams, 26, was being held there on $2,500 bond for felony and misdemeanor drug charges.