MILWAUKEE (AP) — A university student's video depicting the beheading of a police officer drew a strongly worded rebuke from a Wisconsin state lawmaker who denounced the imagery as "vile" and an attempt to incite violence.
The video shows University of Wisconsin-Madison students dressed as officers wearing pig masks, including one leading a black student to a noose made of the U.S. flag. Later, a machete-wielding black student chases the officers before the video cuts to a frame of the student holding a bloody, decapitated pig mask.
The video was produced and directed by Eneale Pickett, a junior at the university, as a commercial to promote a clothing line he created with an anti-police message. He did not immediately respond to an email and a message through his Twitter account Thursday.
Republican state Sen. Steve Nass said in a statement Wednesday that the video is "vile and racist" and "clearly a direct threat to the brave men and women that serve behind the badge." He urged local police and the Wisconsin Department of Justice to investigate and called on the university to hold the students involved accountable.
The university said in a statement that while it condemns and rejects the video's "glorification of violence," ''all citizens have the rights to express political beliefs that others may find objectionable, or even counter to the values of the institution." The statement said the university supports police and does not endorse the student's clothing line.
Police expressed a similar sentiment.
"We do not agree with the message, but we appreciate and respect people's opinions and their right to free speech," said Marc Lovicott, a spokesman for university's police department. Lovicott said police are not investigating because no crimes were committed.
The video is voiced-over with soundbites from President Donald Trump's remarks following the deadly clashes last month at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. The video begins with Trump saying, "You had a group on the other side that was also very violent and nobody wants to say that, but I'll say it right now."
The video ends with the image of the beheaded mask and Trump's words: "You look at both sides, I think there's blame on both sides and I have no doubt about it and you don't have any doubt about it either."
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