- Associated Press - Thursday, October 16, 2014
Burke predecessor called her a ‘disaster’ in ‘06

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke’s predecessor as head of the Wisconsin Department of Commerce referred to her as a “disaster” in a 2006 email sent to a top official in Gov. Jim Doyle’s administration, documents revealed on Thursday showed.

Burke led the Commerce Department from 2005 to 2007. Doyle, a Democrat, did not run for re-election in 2010 and was succeeded by Republican Gov. Scott Walker.

The email come to light in the final weeks of a campaign in which Burke and Walker are running neck-and-neck. A Marquette University Law School poll released Wednesday showed them tied at 47 percent with only 4 percent of voters undecided.

The email in question was sent on Sept. 3, 2006, by Cory Nettles, who led the agency charged with overseeing state economic development efforts from 2003 to 2005. It was first reported by The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Thursday, and the state Republican Party quickly launched a radio ad attacking Burke on the issue.

Nettles described Burke as a “disaster” in the email sent to Doyle adviser Aaron Olver, who was third in charge at the Commerce Department under both Nettles and Burke. Nettles was forwarding an email from John Torinus, the former chief executive officer at printing company Serigraph Inc.

Torinus described frustration with Burke following an economic development meeting.

“She sees a continuing need to have a war chest to help individual companies for political reasons, but doesn’t really believe that many of these projects are justified,” Torinus wrote Nettles.


Wisconsin AG hopeful proposes gun deal

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Republican attorney general hopeful Brad Schimel said Thursday he would devote state Justice Department resources to helping Milwaukee prosecutors go after gun crimes - if they agree not to drop charges in plea deals.

Schimel’s campaign released a statement citing a September report by conservative investigative group Media Trackers that found nearly half of the cases police referred to Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm for felon-in-possession-of-a-firearm charges during the summer of 2013 were never charged.

“If I’m going to reallocate resources to address this problem, we’re going to improve public safety,” Schimel said. “Does this means there are strings attached? Absolutely.”

Chisholm, a Democrat helping lead a secret probe into whether Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign illegally coordinated with conservative groups, didn’t return a message. Josh Lease, a spokesman for Schimel’s opponent, Democrat Susan Happ, said Schimel’s plan appears based on sketchy information gathered by a right-wing organization. The attorney general shouldn’t tie local prosecutors’ hands, he said.

Happ, the Jefferson County district attorney, and Schimel, the Waukesha County district attorney, are in a tight race to replace outgoing Republican Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen. A Marquette University Law School poll released Wednesday showed they’re even.

Schimel gave an interview to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel editorial board later Thursday. He mentioned the gun plan but spent most of the session fielding a wide-ranging set of questions.

He told the board he would defend a state law that bans outside groups from coordinating with candidates. During a debate with Happ on Sunday he said he wasn’t sure - the law is at the heart of the allegations against Walker’s campaign - but on Thursday said he has to start from a position that all state laws are constitutional.


Hunters kill dozen wolves in first day and a half

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Hunters have killed a dozen Wisconsin wolves over the first day and a half of the season.

The third annual wolf season got underway Wednesday. According to data on the state Department of Natural Resources website as of mid-afternoon Thursday showed hunters had taken 12 wolves, including three in far northwestern Wisconsin’s Zone 1; three in far northeastern Wisconsin’s Zone 2; three in northwestern Wisconsin’s Zone 3; and three in central Wisconsin’s Zone 5.

The statewide kill limit is 150 animals. That means hunters can take 138 more wolves.


Fired Milwaukee police officer describes shooting

MILWAUKEE (AP) - A Milwaukee police officer fired after fatally shooting a mentally ill man told superiors he became concerned about his safety as soon as he saw the odd way the man was lying on the ground in a downtown park, according to documents released Thursday.

Police Chief Edward Flynn fired Officer Christopher Manney, 38, on Wednesday, saying he believed the officer had wrongly instigated a fight that eventually led Manney to shoot 31-year-old Dontre Hamilton 14 times, killing him. Manney had responded to a call for a welfare check because Hamilton was sleeping in the park.

Hamilton had schizophrenia and had recently stopped taking his medication.

The police union on Thursday released a written account Manney gave Flynn in which the officer said he found Hamilton on the ground with “one leg bent at the knee and rapidly twitching back and forth. No other body parts were moving.”

Hamilton opened his eyes as Manney approached, fixing him with an unblinking stare “that made (me) feel as if he was looking through me and wanted to hurt me,” the officer wrote.

Manney, who had 13 years with the department, said he concluded Hamilton was either mentally ill or under the influence of drugs or alcohol. He also thought Hamilton appeared homeless.

“I know that most homeless people I’ve dealt with have knives on them or some kind of weapon on them to fend off other homeless persons or persons that may pose a threat to them as they sleep and live in public areas. … I felt compelled, for my safety, to conduct a pat-down search of Hamilton for weapons,” he wrote.

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