Empower Wisconsin | Dec. 10, 2020
MADISON — A Mount Horeb Area School District social worker accused of brutally beating a state senator in June during a riot in downtown Madison has filed a retaliation complaint against the school system, sources tell Empower Wisconsin.
Samantha Hamer, 26, of Madison, was suspended without pay following the June 24 assault on Tim Carpenter, a Milwaukee Democrat and openly gay member of the Legislature. The senator was attacked by a mob of Black Lives Matter demonstrators after he took out his phone and recorded them vandalizing an iconic Capitol Square statue.
Mount Horeb Superintendent Steve Salerno said the district could not comment about such personnel matters.
Just why Hamer feels retaliated against by the school is unclear. She could not be reached for comment. Her attorney, through an assistant, said he would return Empower Wisconsin’s call seeking comment. He did not. Representatives from the Madison office of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission could not be reached Wednesday.
Hamer’s criminal case is moving through Dane County Circuit Court.
She and Kerida O’Reilly, 33, also of Madison, each face a charge substantial battery. Each had pleaded not guilty to the felony charge. They remain free on a $500 signature bond awaiting trial. Their attorneys have argued investigators have not shown evidence that Hamer and O’Reilly punched or kicked Carpenter, although the senator’s 11-second video appears to show the two women approaching him before he is knocked to the ground.
Carpenter said his attackers kicked and punched him in the head, and he later required surgery.
As Empower Wisconsin first reported, Hamer was listed as a school social worker in the Mount Horeb Area School District, where she was working with “students and families who are struggling with social-emotional needs, behavioral issues, or environmental issues in the family, school and/or community,” according to the district website.
She was not listed as a staff member as of Wednesday.
“I am sure you can appreciate that we are unable to provide specific information about this matter, as it is a pending investigation. Regardless, any egregious breach in civility must include due process and where appropriate, the very highest levels of accountability,” Salerno wrote in an email to Empower Wisconsin on June 28.
The assault occurred during a long night of violence on the Capitol Square and parts of Downtown Madison. Rioters smashed Capitol windows, tore down statues and firebombed public buildings. Black Lives Matter protesters were furious that police a day earlier had arrested Devonere Johnson, a 28-year-old black man, after he reportedly disrupted, harassed and threatened Downtown Madison diners and restaurant employees.