Protestors topple “Forward” statue, firebomb building, in continued demonstration against the police.

Using a hijacked towing vehicle, protesters dragged the Lady Forward statue down State Street. Photo: Carla Christenson.

Author: Sam Buisman

Demonstrators topple the “Forward” statue in a destructive night of protest against the police in downtown Madison.

After the Tuesday afternoon arrest of Devonere Johnson reinvigorated downtown Madison’s protests against police brutality, the night took a violent turn as the sun went down.

A group of roughly 250 protestors used a stolen towing vehicle to tear down the Lady Forward and Hans Christian Heg statues on the Capitol lawn. Later in the evening, members of the group threw a Molotov cocktail into the City Couty Building while 911 operators were still inside, although the building did not catch fire, and assaulted a State Senator who was on the scene taking photos.

This protest wrought widespread condemnation from city and state officials.

Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway said that Tuesday night’s activities were hypocritical when considering the demands of protestors for equitable safety.

“Over the past weeks, we have heard chants of ‘who keeps us safe? We keep us safe!’,” wrote Rhodes-Conway. “It’s time for that ‘us’ and that ‘we’ to include everyone in Madison. Because every single person who lives here deserves to be and feel safe in our City.”

Wisconsin Republicans not only criticized the protestors but also the leadership of Democratic officials.

“Wisconsinites need more from our leaders than feckless statements that fail to adequately condemn the violence and dissuade further destruction in Wisconsin’s cities,” wrote Wisconsin Republican Party Chairman Andrew Hitt. “All of our leaders, regardless of political affiliation, need to step up and do everything in their power to protect the citizens they serve.”

 On Wednesday afternoon, Governor Tony Evers authorized the Wisconsin National Guard to assist Madison law enforcement in their policing. At press time, the Governor nor the National Guard have released details of the size or capacity of this National Guard deployment. 

WSUM will continue to follow this story and issue updates as they emerge.

The damage to state property from Tuesday night’s protests spurred harsh criticism from political leaders and Governor Evers to call in the National Guard. Photo: Carla Christenson.