MADISON — As the radical left mob began tearing up Capitol Square, before the “peaceful protesters” attacked the Capitol and firebombed Madison’s City-County Building, Gov. Tony Evers had a choice.
He could have ordered Wisconsin State Capitol Police to protect the Statehouse. He didn’t.
Instead, Evers had them stay inside the building 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.”
As Evers locked down Capitol Police, protesters tore down and destroyed the two legendary statues that have long guarded the State Capitol. They ripped down and soiled the famous, 7-foot Forward statue, a proud symbol of progress created by a Wisconsin female artist nearly 130 years ago. Then they proceeded to drag down and decapitate the statue of Hans Christian Heg, a Union colonel who fought and died in the Civil War in large part because he abhorred slavery. They dumped what was left of the statue in Lake Monona.
Then, they shifted their violence from artwork to people, attacking state Sen. Tim Carpenter, an openly gay Milwaukee Democrat and vocal advocate of the BLM movement.
So, while Madison’s liberal city officials were telling police officers to stand down and stay away from the protesters and the chaos they were causing, the state’s liberal governor was doing the same with the Capitol Police.
Perhaps the unwillingness to confront the violent protesters shouldn’t come as a surprise from a police force whose mission statement and core values read more like a woke manifesto than a guide to public safety and keeping the peace. Capitol Police were in full force, however, when thousands of Wisconsinites turned out for an April protest against Evers’ statewide lockdowns.
Evers could have called up the Wisconsin State Patrol to assist. Felzkowski said the governor told her “the response time would be too long.”
He 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.’”
Even as the state Department of Justice sent Handgun Hotline employees home early for fear of the violence the days after the riots, the governor sent the National Guard packing.
Felzkowski said Evers insisted the Guard did not have the authority to deal with riots. The lawmaker said she pointed to the state statute which states, “The governor may order into state active duty members of the national guard under the following circumstances: In case of war, insurrection, rebellion, riot, invasion, terrorism, or resistance to the execution of the laws of this state or the United States.”
Madison certainly was facing a riot and plenty of the other circumstances laid out in the statute.
“He got angrily frustrated that I did not accept his explanations,” Felzkowski said.
Evers’ failure to act cost taxpayers untold thousands of dollars in property damage. A spokeswoman from the Department of Administration said the agency still is assessing the damage to the statues, as well as damage to state-owned buildings in the Capitol Square.
More so, the governor’s inaction put lives in peril.
Evers’ office did not respond to Empower Wisconsin’s request for comment.