In comments that received a lot of attention, Sheriff Mahoney used the term "palace guards" in explaining his decision:
"When asked to stand guard at the doors that duty was turned over to the Wisconsin State Patrol because our deputies would not stand and be palace guards," Mahoney said. "I refused to put deputy sheriffs in a position to be palace guards."Sheriff Mahoney has e-mailed me. Here is his e-mail in full (emphasis mine):
I write only after having been directed to your website by John **** [name deleted by me] from Virginia. I write only to correct an inaccuracy in the article, specifically that I pulled deputy sheriff's from guarding the WI Capitol. I did state that deputies would not guard locked doors as palace guards and we will disagree whether that was proper, but the deputies were assigned to continue walking the terrace and sidewalk surrounding the capitol, the same duty they have been assigned to for the past 19 days, 24 hours each day, and the duty they will continue until relieved or the request for assistance from WI Capitol Police ends. I would also like to point out that the incident involving Senator Glenn Grothman only occurred because not one law enforcement agency working at the capitol was made aware of his impromptu press conference during which a crowd gathered. I might point out as well, the senator was assisted at the conclusion of his press conference by non-other than Dane County Deputy Sheriff's.
I take the service to our citizens very seriously, that is every one of them, those that support and those who oppose the bill being introduced. The men and women of law enforcement have served our state well. During 19 days of protest and demonstrations not one individual has been hurt or injured and not one incident or confrontation has broke out, contrary to fabricated reports, because, law enforcement has done collectively what they are charged with doing-providing public safety!Some thoughts about the e-mail.
I understand we will disagree politically, that's fine it's the American way, I also understand that as a blogger accuracy in content is not required but I ask that an attempt be made to try.
First, Sheriff Mahoney wanted to clarify that Sheriff's deputies had not been pulled completely from the Capitol grounds, only from "locked doors." Sheriff Mahoney's original statement, however, did not make the distinction that he only was pulling guards from locked doors and not more general security duty at the entrances. I'm not sure why deputies would be needed at locked doors, unless it were to prevent protesters from opening the doors for uncontrolled access to the inside of the Capitol. The question remains as to whether the removal of his deputies was in defiance of the request of the people who had legal control of the building.
Second, Sheriff Mahoney seems to recognize that the use of the term "palace guards" was controversial, but does not step back from it. Instead, Sheriff Mahoney simply says "we will disagree whether that was proper," which I interpret as an indication Sheriff Mahoney is standing by the phrase.
Third, in response to the e-mail, I asked Sheriff Mahoney to identify the "fabricated reports" to which he was referring, but have not heard back from him. I will post his response if and when I receive it.
Does the e-mail change your view of what happened?
Update 3:40: A few minutes after turning the post live, I received the following from Sheriff Mahoney in response to my question about "fabricated reports" (emphasis mine):
"I have watched several reports on FOX News reporting violence breaking out during the WI protests, I can tell you that it is not happening. I sit in executive level briefings everyday where additional reports are discussed to ensure they can be confirmed or disproven. So you understand I'm not trying to keep information form [sic] you, this morning as deputies reported to work at the capitol a dpeuty [sic] found 11 .22 caliber rounds outside the capitol and law enforcement has been finding additional rounds in various government buildings all day."The reports of the bullets is just being reported at this drafting.
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