Wisconsin governor ready to call in National Guard after statues toppled, state senator attacked

The state lawmaker, a Democrat, was attacked while filming protests

Last Updated:
June 24, 2020 - 4:13pm

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Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers said Wednesday that he’s prepared to activate the National Guard following a night of violence in which protesters tore down statues, a Molotov cocktail into a government building and a state senator was attacked. 

“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.

Democratic state Sen. Tim Carpenter was assaulted after taking a cellphone video of protesters.

“Punched/kicked in the head, neck, ribs,” Carpenter tweeted around 4 a.m. “Maybe concussion, socked in left eye is little blurry, sore neck & ribs. 8-10 people attacked me. Innocent people are going to get killed. Capitol locked- stuck in office.Stop violence nowPlz!”

The violence broke out Tuesday night as a group of 200 to 300 people protested the arrest of a Black man who shouted at restaurant customers through a megaphone while carrying a baseball bat, according to the Associated Press.

Protesters ripped down the statue of a notable anti-slavery abolitionist and Civil War Union colonel, cutting off the monument's head and throwing the ruined sculpture in a nearby lake as part of an ongoing anti-statue movement sweeping the country. 

Hans Christian Heg was a native Norwegian who came to the U.S. in 1840 and rose to become a prominent anti-slavery activist and member of the then-burgeoning Republican Party.

He was made a colonel in the 15th Wisconsin Volunteer Regiment during the Civil War, after which he saw engagement in several battles before being mortally wounded at the Battle of Chickamauga.

Norwegian-American sculptor Paul Fjelde installed the statue of Heg outside of the Wisconsin statehouse in 1925. Last night, protesters "took control of a towing vehicle" and ripped the monument down, according to local media reports.

Following that, the activists cut off the statue's head and threw it into nearby Lake Monona. 

Another nearby statue titled "Forward," one depicting a woman resolutely gazing forward with her arm outstretched, was also ripped down last night and left in the middle of a nearby street. The Wisconsin Historical Society describes that statue as "an allegory of devotion and progress."

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