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Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Other Loser In Wisconsin - Law Enforcement Credibility

Regardless of who emerges as the political winner or loser in Madison, Wisconsin, one thing is clear, law enforcement -- from the Madison police, to the Dane County Sheriff's office, to the Capitol and State police -- have lost credibility as neutral players in this political standoff.

Time and again, law enforcement has failed even to try to enforce the law, including last night, as this report from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel indicated:
But it was clear Wednesday night, after thousands descended on the Capitol in reaction to the Senate vote on removing most collective bargaining rights, that police were not going to try to stop protesters from entering what was supposed to be a building closed for the night.
Keep in mind, there is a court order that the building would be shut after regular business hours, yet law enforcement did nothing to enforce that court order.

This has become part of a pattern.  Perhaps the most egregious example was when a Madison police officer addressed a crowd in late February inside the Capitol and actively agitated for the protesters to disregard and defy both the assembly and the Governor when it came to leaving the building at night.

I posted this video on February 27:

If law enforcement does not ensure the ability of the Assembly to meet in the Capitol this morning, including providing safe passage for legislators, then law enforcement will have damaged its unique standing in society.

The police unions in Madison are on the verge of destroying the credibility of law enforcement by taking sides in this political dispute.

It will be interesting to see what happens later today.

Update:  Per Badger14 website, the State Police did make an initial effort to keep protesters out last night.  But, once most protesters had left the building, several dozen protesters were allowed to sleep in antechamber of the Assembly overnight, rather than being removed per court order.

Looking at the videos in the link above, which show the State Police did try to prevent access but were overwhelmed, it was a mistake for me to include them in the list in the opening sentence.

As of 1 p.m. (E.S.T.) the State Police were removing protesters who were blocking the Assembly chamber door who refused to leave voluntarily and under their own control (one shouted "Heil Walker"):

Apparently after the protesters were removed, the doors to the Assembly chamber were still locked, with a small number of Democratic legislators unable to get in (all the rest entered a differenct way), so they started screaming and banging on the door (one who was interviewed said he insisted on going through the main door, and not another entry point):

The doors were opened and they were let in.  Jesse Jackson showed up shortly after that, and gave an interview in which he compared Gov. Walker to George Wallace barracading the doors to the University of Alabama, and the union dispute to the voting rights marches in Selma:

Related Posts:
Wisconsin Police Union Members Threaten Insurrection
More Police Insurrection In Madison
Dane County (Wisconsin) Sheriff Dave Mahoney E-Mails Me

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  1. Is this all that surprising? Didn't you see the video filmed during Katrina where two really big cops (> 6ft, > 200 lbs) beat up a little old lady who was merely holding a gun? Read Vox Day. The cops are just another criminal gang, and in any social upheaval they will prey upon the people.

  2. If law enforcement will not even protect the legislators, then what should the average joe republican expect? What if they start to believe that they have no protection under the law. This would not be a good day for Americans.

  3. Then Walker should break ALL the unions in WI. If they strike, fire them all and start hiring. Striking means that they're not doing their jobs, just like allowing protesters entry to the capitol means that. Let them pay the price for it; it's either the union or a pay check. It can't be both. Then, institute merit pay.

  4. Sounds like it's getting time to call out the National Guard, secure the Capitol and disperse Obama's rent-a-riot. The National Guard presence may not be politically good PR but if the police are becoming part of the problem, it's time to solve "their" problem and give them an ultimatum: enforce the law or resign.

  5. Would that not make the cops in violation of a valid court order and in contempt of court? who will arrest them? Who has the power to arrest them?

  6. There was a comment, made by a legislative employee, that 'the Madison police' are not cooperative--thus, the State is importing officers from other cities.

    NOW the concern is that the Assembly members will not be able to safely get into the building and vote this morning.

    Stay tuned.

  7. While I'm sure the police and State Police are sympathetic to the protestors, they appeared to be far outnumbered by a leaderless crazed mob. Once the doors/windows were unlocked and open, it didn't appear to me that there was much the authorities could do to stop the mob from entering.

    I also disagree with the commenter urging Governor Walker to call out the National Guard. He's in a chess match for public opinion. And one he appears to be losing because Big Labor with a compliant media has highjacked and grossly distorted the narrative. The last thing Walker needs is to be viewed as some sort of authoritarian figure using military force to prevent people from exercising their freedom to assemble and freedom to speak. And that's exactly how Big Labor and Big Media will present it - not that the Governor is trying to restore law and order.

    I don't want to see Governor Walker make a PR mistake that will shift opinion even further against him.

  8. I don't like unions. Never have. That said, I've never really had a problem with police unions and, with some reservations, have always felt they give officers a needed degree of protection from opportunist/rabble rousing politicians and a media that is always ready to crucify them when it suits their social and political ends. This Wisconsin fiasco has changed my opinion. Its clear that when push comes to shove, some portion of those charged with protecting the public and enforcing the laws will choose union solidarity over their sworn duties. Government employee unions, all of them, need to disappear.

  9. Fire them. Police are essential to the common defense, for enforcing the rule of law. They swore an oath to protect the public and uphold the law - not just the people and laws they agree with, but all.

    They need to be fired, with new hiring announcements published for replacements. I am sure there are plenty of people who will be able to fill these positions. Time to stand. Time to win.

    I agree with the comment from @Maggot about the MSM and Big Labor controlling the message. Why is Walker (and Republicans in general) not doing more than publishing a WSJ editorial TODAY on why he has done what he has done? About 2 weeks too late, after Big Labor and their minions the MSM blasting the megaphones internationally into the public's collective head.

    Granted, he has made great some statements. But with AP and Reuters etc. lying and twisting the facts, spinning every headline, they need to counter it, fast and hard. Now it is all damage control and trying to reclaim the dialog - defense.

  10. A little off-topic, but I'm curious if the Senate can vote on the "old" bill (before the Fleebaggers left) once they show back up for work?

    If there is any question on the legality of last night's vote, why not just vote on the orginal one once the Dems come back into the chamber?


  11. "I don't want to see Governor Walker make a PR mistake that will shift opinion even further against him."

    There's a time for PR, but there's a point where real life concerns must take priority. A mob has forcibly and illegally invaded the seat of government, threatened the lives of legislators, and shut down the state government. The police are unable and/or unwilling to remedy the situation, and some may be actively assisting the mob. If successful, a permanent travelling mob will happily repeat this tactic again and again.

    If this doesn't constitute a reason to deploy the National Guard for security purposes, then what would?

  12. Just another reason, maybe the best reason, public employee unions need to be busted.

  13. Cops are thugs. They are a street gang with a badge. Most are crooked; most are arrogant, and most enforce the law according to their whims and emotions and generally means that they enforce the law in whatever way makes them feel the best about themselves. As a former gang member, I find dealing with them safely is exactly like dealing with another gang member safely. You give them their 'propers' and convey a mixture of humility and confidence and they'll treat you ok. Otherwise you can expect sudden and vicious violence.

  14. Sworn officers take an oath, that's why they are called "sworn". These officers did not live up to that oath. Solution? Dismissal and perhaps other legal action. No quarter.

  15. I've got some sympathy for the cops in the Capitol building events of last night. They were badly outnumbered, and at a certain point you've got to question whether escalating the level of force to enforce the law is worth the candle.

    For example, this:


    As much as I'd like to advocate some stick time and hickory shampoos, it's probably not worth it.

  16. The Madison Police act under the direction of Chief Noble Wray who takes his orders from the Madison Mayor, Dave Cieslewicz. The Capital Police are a v. small unit. The Mayor and Madison City Attorney Mike May claim the action of the State Senate is illegal. So expect them to encourage protests,'civil' hooliganism and don't expect much by way of law enforcement. Cieslewicz is running for reelection against another old red, Paul Soglin, and will use this opportunity to bolster further his union-hugging bonifides.

    People who are not from Madison do not realize that it is a municipality abstracted from the real world. A sort of District 9, but with its own police force. Everyone from cops to judges to meter maids applies their own leftist spin on state law - there is cross section, there is no diversity. Conservatives must live quietly lest some aging boomer school teacher or university flak get in their face, start blowing a whistle and screaming 'shame shame'.

    "Forget it Jake, its only Madison"

  17. There was a time when the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department advertised for new deputies with something like 'we're the baddest gang in town.' That should be a comfort.

  18. There is a new media vs. old media battle also going on. The old media is under reporting and/or slanting the reporting on what the left is doing. It takes a bit for the new media to get the words and images out and get what is happening stored on the net. It could be that Walker is using this timing. He lets the left make fools of themselves over an issue. Then make a slice. They make fools over that slice, he waits, then slices them again.
    When it is observed and on record so to speak, that the unionized police have become fore sworn, then the National Guard from outside Madison can be brought in and only a minority will care if the thugs get bayoneted.

  19. To those excusing some police agencies from acting because the officers present were outnumbered, please reconsider! While being outnumbered is reasonable grounds for those individual officers present to decline to take action, the more important question, for their superiors, is WHY were they outnumbered. If a police chief knows that there are 1,000 protesters that need to be cleared, and the police chief sends only 5 police officers to do it, that police chief has chosen to make it impossible for those 5 officers to take any effective action. Sending out an underwhelming force is a conscious decision made by the police chief, in this case likely for political motives of sympathy to the protesters' political viewpoint.

  20. Speaking as someone who lives in Madison, I agree with Tim's analysis. However, I'd only add that Dane County Sheriff Dave Mahoney is a Democratic hack elected with help of the Teacher's Union which controls just about every aspect of the election process in the city. As for Madison Police Chief Noble Wray, the less said about him, the better. He is unqualified to be the police chief in any city with a population of over 100 people.

  21. It's well past time for elected officials to insist that law enforcement does just that -- or be fired.

  22. I will tell you WHO has the authority: US Marshalls - they can and will arrest/take down all those that refuse to do their duties they swore on oath AND allegiance to do.

    National Guard should be posted WITH weapons to protect the Capitol senators/assm/staff workers and make them responsible for all and any actions in regards to the bldg control as well.

    If a (D) attempts to do what Cory Mason (D-Racine) did last night and allow people INTO the building, than arrest them and start proceedings to have them removed from office. They are not doing their jobs either.

  23. Yep, blame the cops.

    Many factors go into how police will enforce court orders when dealing with large crowds such as the danger of escalation. Being prudent can diffuse a situation alot easy then going in hell bent.

    Part of what tactics one employs depends on one's resources. Look at the Madison PD. They have approximately 400 hundred sworn officers to patrol a city of a quarter million. Does this Department really have the resources to throw into the protest while also performing all their other duties, such as patroling the streets?

    Sorry ma'am, no one to respond to your mugging, we where at the capital building for the protest.

    Before criticizing and jumping to conclusions about the cops, look at the big picture. Most of their decisions are guided by facts unseen to the public and are for legitimate purposes besides taking sides in a public squabble.

  24. This is what leftists do: they concoct some high-minded sounding slogan to justify breaking the rules. They've besmirched the hard fought for reputation of teachers, doctors, now law enforcement. Talk about useful idiots!

  25. What sort of men and women would we expect the city of Madison to hire to enforce the law? Serious and impartial individuals or polictically correct wusses?