By M.D. Kittle
MADISON — For a city that has suffered devastating riots, Madison isn’t quick on the uptake.
The Madison City Council had flirted with banning police from using tear gas, mace and non-lethal projectiles more than two years after Black Lives Matter rioters ripped through downtown, smashed, looted and burned State Street stores, attacked the state Capitol, toppled iconic statues, badly battered a state lawmaker and firebombed the city-county building.
Following Gov. Tony Evers’ lead of vetoing a bill that would have criminalized rioting, the city would have made law enforcement’s job a lot more difficult.
“What we’re seeing are the consequences of soft-on-crime liberal policies that have made Wisconsin less safe,” said Fond du Lac County District Attorney Eric Toney, Republican candidate for attorney general. “When you tie the hands of law enforcement, things get out of control.”
It’s commonplace in a far left city whose leaders demanded police officers “stand down” as the summer of 2020 riots raged.
It appears, for now, the city council has come to its senses. On Tuesday, council members compromised, allowing police to use riot-control tools “under certain circumstances.” But the city’s anti-cop monitor will be watching.
The measure would have hindered responding police agencies through the use of mutual aid the ability to keep people safe and protect businesses and property. The Badger State Sheriffs’ Association sent Madison leaders a letter warning that sheriffs would not send their officers into such disorder without proper tools. So did other law enforcement groups.
“Can you imagine violent protests occurring in Madison with no source of support for Madison Police, and the protesters involved knowing your officers’ response capabilities and restrictions in advance?” the Wisconsin Professional Police Association wrote in a letter to the council. “This misguided (ordinance) would not only endanger the lives of any law enforcement professionals who was on the scene, but would also endanger the lives of innocent civilians.”
Even Kalvin Barrett, Dane County’s uber left sheriff, opposed the proposal, and he’s the guy calling inmates “residents” and posing in political pictures with a wanted pedophile.
On Monday, Toney joined Dane County Det. Anthony Hamilton, Republican candidate for sheriff, Dane County Sup. Jeff Weigand and Jeff Twing of the Wisconsin Fraternal Order of Police at a press conference urging the city to come to its senses — at least on this point.
Toney, who is endorsed by more than 100 sheriffs, district attorneys and police chiefs, says the soft-on-crime failures start at the top, with a liberal attorney general who has silently supported lawlessness.
“I don’t know what’s more shameful — that Tony Evers has failed Wisconsin and crime victims by putting heinous criminals back on our streets or that Josh Kaul has stood by silently as this occurs,” Toney said this week. “This is a recurring theme with Kaul: silence in times of need. The Evers/Barnes Parole Commission has released some of the most brutal murderers and child rapists in Wisconsin’s history, proving that victims of crime are not a priority for them. We cannot afford another four years of this intentional disregard for public safety.”
Kaul’s campaign did not return an email seeking comment.
The attorney general, who has but a few law enforcement endorsements, this week told the Wisconsin Counties Association annual conference in Baraboo that his top priority is public safety. He boasted about going after businesses on PFAS contamination lawsuits in pursuit of Evers’ and the left’s extreme environmental agenda.
Toney said Kaul has spent his time in office picking and choosing “when to enforce the rule of law.” Kaul, for instance, has said he will not enforce or investigate violations of any abortion ban and urged local DAs not to, either.
“And he’s done so based on partisan political preferences,” the district attorney said. “That’s the true threat to democracy, when people see Josh Kaul picking and choosing when to enforce the law.”
Empower Wisconsin | Sept. 22, 2022