Allahpundit wrote about the rioting in Madison, Wisconsin last night. Even MSNBC’s Chris Hayes seemed mystified by it.
So the Madison crowd last night: knocked over the statue of an abolitionist immigrant who died fighting for the union, a statue commemorating women's suffrage and beat up a 60 year old state senator and left him lying on the ground.https://t.co/ZAQqZySAUe
— Chris Hayes (@chrislhayes) June 24, 2020
What happened in Madison last night wasn’t a peaceful protest that turned inexplicably violent. This was intended to be a riot almost from the start. Why? Because people were angry about an arrest that took place earlier in the day.
Devonere Johnson, 28, was arrested after causing a disturbance in a restaurant on the Capitol Square, according to Madison police and video of the incident. Videos of the arrest — some circulating on social media and others provided by the Madison Police Department — show as many as five officers taking Johnson to the sidewalk and carrying him to a police squad car after Johnson initially resisted arrest.
Johnson got into a of dispute with a man who was eating outside the restaurant. When the man walked into the restaurant, Johnson followed him and used a bullhorn to call him a racist repeatedly. Johnson also had a baseball bat with “black lives matter” painted on it over his shoulder. After the man he’d been harassing walked away, Johnson then went on a rant about white Jesus and how he was stolen from the Egyptian deity Horus. At one point during the rant, Johnson said, “My name is Yeshua Musa and I am disturbing the s**t out of this restaurant, and I got a f**kin’ bat.” Meanwhile, the manager appears to be on the phone calling police.
Police arrived as Johnson was leaving and arrested him. Video of the arrest circulated yesterday. Lots of NSFW language in this one:
Johnson was clearly resisting arrest. In fact, because police never handcuffed him, he escaped from the rear of the police vehicle after he was carried inside. In this clip you can see him run across the street before being tackled. Watch the left side of the video.
Johnson continued to scream as he was put inside the car for the second time and bystanders continued to harangue the police.
Johnson was charged, not surprisingly, with “disorderly conduct while armed, resisting arrest and attempted escape.” But because Johnson is frequently a part of local BLM marches, his arrest prompted an angry response. The crowd that gathered later that night never intended to be peaceful. This was a riot from the start:
By early evening, protesters gathered outside the Dane County Jail, where Johnson is being held, and began marching Downtown. Roughly 300 protesters blocked traffic, yelling at drivers and telling them to join the demonstration. A few drivers drove through small crowds of protesters, leaving at least one man injured.
Organizers stood on top of a tow truck, vowing that the night would not be peaceful.
“This is not a peaceful protest, so if you came out here for a peaceful protest, you missed it,” one organizer said. “We’re done being peaceful. Now we demanding justice.”
Here’s video of people on top of the seized tow truck. You can hear one of the organizers telling everyone to put their phones away so there’s no recording of what she says next:
There are also several videos of the incidents involving people stopping cars in the street. Here’s video of one of the incidents involving a car being stopped by protesters. As you can see, the driver is trying to get away and people are literally leaning on the hood. Someone tries to break the passenger window with a skateboard:
In addition to pulling down statues and attacking a state senator, the mob did a lot of other damage last night:
Protesters set a small fire on one of the windows of the City-County Building Downtown, which also houses the Madison Police Department’s Downtown station. A group shattered the front entrance windows of the Tommy G. Thompson Center on Public Leadership, which houses several state offices, and others knocked down street cameras or spray painted over the lenses.
Verveer said the small fire was in a city engineering office and was caused by a Molotov cocktail…
Just before 1 a.m. Wednesday, as protesters began trying to break the windows and doors of the Capitol, police arrived in riot gear and said the group was “unlawfully gathered.” Officers warned everyone to leave the area.
“Free Yeshua,” some in the crowd chanted as they hurled taunts and insults at police officers. The confrontation ended at about 2:30 a.m. as the crowd thinned and police stood down.
Here’s video of the people chanting “Free Yeshua!” at the end of a long night of rioting.
Tuesday night’s protests entered Wednesday morning and organizers’ message was simple, “We will leave when y’all leave”. Madison Police did just that, left Hamilton and ended the long standoff. pic.twitter.com/IT4Ywhf18W
— George Balekji (@GeorgeBalekji) June 24, 2020
The mayor has issued a statement about what happened last night, calling it “exceedingly dangerous.”
— Jessie Opoien (@jessieopie) June 24, 2020
What exactly was supposed to happen here? If someone walks into a restaurant with a bat and a megaphone and is harassing people that’s a situation where you should call the police. Johnson literally confessed to disturbing the peace as he was doing it so there’s really no question about what happened. There’s also no question that he also resisted arrest and attempted to escape. So the arrest and the charges all seem appropriate.
And yet the response was to pull down statues, smash windows, harass drivers, throw at least one Molotov cocktail, beat up a state senator and try to break into the capitol. All of that to demand that Johnson escape consequences for his actions. It’s one thing for the leadership in Madison (and elsewhere) to be willing to say enough is enough and stop coddling the protesters. The real challenge is getting the national media to do likewise.