A crowd of people have torn down two statues outside of the Wisconsin State Capitol.
Wisconsin’s “Forward” statue was lying in the street on Capitol Square in Madison after crowds grew enraged when a Black man was arrested. ABC News reports that the man was wielding a bat and yelling at restaurant customers. During the mayhem, Wisconsin State Senator #TimCarpenter was attacked, and people threw a Molotov cocktail at a government building. There were at least 200 to 300 people in the crowd.
Police officers used pepper spray to deter protesters who were trying to go into the historic center of state government, according to Madison police. At one point on Wednesday, Gov. Tony Evers said he was ready to launch the Wisconsin National Guard. “What happened in Madison last night presented a stark contrast from the peaceful protests we have seen across our state in recent weeks, including significant damage to state property,” Evers said in a statement.
All of the drama started after police arrested a Black man, Devenore Johnson, who was shouting at customers at a nearby restaurant through a megaphone. Video footage shows Johnson holding a bat and pacing back and forth around the restaurant’s patio. ABC News reports that he also went into the restaurant while talking about God and saying that he is “disturbing” the establishment. When police arrived, the man allegedly resisted arrest, and then five police officers picked him up and carried him to their squad cars. Footage shows the man escaping from police before being tackled to the ground.
Police say the hundreds of people gathered and forced a man to exit a tow truck after surrounding the Wisconsin State Capitol building. The outlet reports that the crowd broke windows in multiple buildings and tore down the two statues while chanting for the release of Johnson. The crowds cut off the head of one of the statues that were created to honor Civil War Col. Hans Christian Heg’s image; they then dragged it into a lake about a half-mile away.
Heg was an anti-slavery activist and leader of an anti-slave catcher militia in Wisconsin who fought for the Union. Crowds put graffiti all over the body of Heg’s statue and wrote “Fire Matt Kenny,” which is referring to a white Madison police officer who fatally shot Black, 19-year-old Tony Robinson, in 2015. Kenny is still a Madison officer.