MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Crowds outside the Wisconsin State Capitol tore down two statues and attacked a state senator amid protests following the arrest of a Black man who was at a restaurant with a megaphone and a baseball bat.
Video released by the Madison Police Department shows the man talking through the megaphone Tuesday while walking near the restaurant’s outdoor patio. He goes inside and says he’s “disturbing” the restaurant.
The unrest followed weeks of mostly peaceful protests of the death of George Floyd, who died on May 25 in Minneapolis after a white police officer used his knee to pin down the handcuffed Black man’s neck even after Floyd stopped moving.
Late Tuesday in Madison, Democratic state Sen. Tim Carpenter was assaulted after taking a photo of protesters, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
“I don’t know what happened ... all I did was stop and take a picture ... and the next thing I’m getting five-six punches, getting kicked in the head,” Carpenter told a reporter for the newspaper.
Statues of Wisconsin’s motto “Forward” and of Col. Hans Christian Heg were dragged away from the statehouse. The statue of Heg, an anti-slavery activist who fought and died for the Union during the U.S. Civil War, was decapitated and thrown into a Madison lake by protesters, the newspaper said.
Protesters chanting for the release of the man who’d been arrested also broke glass at the Tommy Thompson Center and smashed windows and lights at the state Capitol. Early Wednesday, police in riot gear worked to clear a crowd of about 100 people that remained in the area.