- Associated Press - Monday, December 12, 2016

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Dec. 8

Federal prosecutors should look at Jay Anderson shooting death

The family of Jay Anderson Jr., who was shot and killed last June by a Wauwatosa police officer, says that federal prosecutors have agreed to review the case now that Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm has decided that the officer’s actions were justified self-defense.

The federal government should take one more look at the case, especially given the circumstances and the anger surrounding the tragic incident, which sparked marches at Mayfair Mall and outside the police department.

Anderson was shot to death by Officer Joseph Mensah as Anderson sat in his car about 3 a.m. on June 23 in Madison Park. Mensah was patrolling in the vicinity when he spotted a parked black four-door car and noticed someone was inside. He approached and during his conversation with Anderson saw a handgun on the passenger seat. Mensah said he drew his weapon and ordered Anderson to raise his hands and not reach for the gun. Anderson complied but several times started to lower his right arm while leaning toward the passenger seat.

According to the investigative report on Mensah’s actions by the Milwaukee Police Department, which conducted the probe, “Mr. Anderson suddenly lunged toward the gun with his right hand. Fearing for his safety Mensah discharged his weapon into the vehicle as he disengaged. Immediately after discharging his weapon he remotely activated his squad camera.” Anderson was shot five times in the head and once in the shoulder.

Anderson’s family disputes the MPD interpretation of the video, saying Anderson was not “lunging” for the gun.

At a news conference Monday, Wauwatosa Police Chief Barry Weber said, “This is a horrible tragedy and for anyone to lose any family member, no matter what the incident is, it’s horrible.”

There’s no doubt about that. Police officers put their lives in danger every day protecting the public; they deserve our thanks and our respect for the difficult jobs they do. But given how long it took for authorities to release the dashcam video and general mistrust of police right now, it would be helpful for federal prosecutors to follow up on this case.

The death of Jay Anderson Jr. was a tragedy; even worse would be to allow lingering doubts about how it happened to remain unaddressed.

___

Leader-Telegram, Dec. 11

UW regents on point

Sexual violence at our colleges and universities is nothing short of an epidemic.

Consider the following statistics from the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, an organization funded through a cooperative agreement with the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Violence Prevention:

- One in five women and one in 16 men are sexually assaulted while in college.

- More than 90 percent of sexual assault victims on campuses do not report the assault.

- More than 60 percent of men at one university who self-reported acts qualifying as rape or attempted rape admitted to committing repeat rapes.

- In the general population, 91 percent of rape and sexual assault victims are women, and in eight out of 10 cases of rape the victim knew the person who committed the crime.

There is no argument over the increasing importance of this issue. What is debatable is what to do about it.

___

Among several actions taken by the UW System Board of Regents on Thursday was the consideration of an effort to have every student and employee undergo online training on sexual violence and harassment issues.

In 2014, UW System President Ray Cross established a task force to address the topics. Recommendations from the task force, according to regent meeting files, included:

- Updating policies so they’re in compliance with federal laws.

- Web-based training. “The importance of providing comprehensive, accessible training concerning sexual violence and harassment to members of the university community cannot be overstated,” reads the report.

- Institutions should provide visible, accessible and inclusive information about resources to victims and develop memorandums of understanding with local law enforcement and other agencies to support the institution’s efforts in this area.

- Enhance prevention and educational efforts by collaborating with community agencies and other institutions (such as K-12, technical colleges and private colleges) to reduce risk and promote cultural change.

- “Implement a study that seeks to gather data and information concerning sexual violence and harassment on or near campus at least once every three years.”

Such measures will not eliminate sexual violence and harassment on UW campuses. However, recognizing the problem and allocating additional resources to its solution are steps in the right direction.

___

Requests to increase out-of-state and graduate tuition and implement employee raises were approved Thursday.

Plans will raise tuition at six four-year campuses, including UW-Eau Claire and UW-Stout, and all two-year schools, while system employees will get a 2 percent raise in each of the next two fiscal years.

“The schools say they need the extra tuition dollars to bring nonresident rates more in line with peer institutions and retain faculty,” reads a document filed with the regents.

We agree.

A recent National Science Foundation survey showed that UW-Madison fell out of the top five nationwide in research expenditures for the first time in 44 years. Research expenditures at UW peaked in 2012 at $1.17 billion, but declined for the next three years.

Research draws federal dollars to the university and attracts top students. It also results in products and services that have significant impacts on economic development.

The survey results testify to the importance of reinvesting in our UW System.

___

Wisconsin State Journal, Dec. 9

No Red Scare in Madison, Rep. Sean Duffy

Have you no sense of decency, U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy?

Madison is not a “progressive, liberal, communist community,” as you claimed on Fox News the other night.

We’re a progressive, liberal, capitalist community. And our strong free-market economy is creating more private-sector jobs than any other part of the state.

That’s why Madison Mayor Paul Soglin took such offense this week to your commie dig, though most people understood it to be hyperbole (as was the first sentence in this editorial).

Soglin called Duffy names, which was unfortunate, but the mayor also made some good points while delivering a clever zinger most of his constituents will love. The only thing communist about Madison, Soglin told The Associated Press, is that revenue generated here is redistributed to help economically struggling communities in Duffy’s 7th Congressional District in northern Wisconsin.

OK, guys. Settle down, please. Wisconsin has long struggled with an urban-rural divide. And that unfortunate rift has grown worse in the wake of last month’s election. Rural voters in Wisconsin and elsewhere played a big role in handing the presidency to a bombastic Donald Trump, which shocked many city dwellers.

But the election is now over, and even the big-talking Republican president-elect has toned down his rhetoric.

Sort of.

We all should be on the same side in Wisconsin when it comes to helping each other succeed across regions of the state. When southern Wisconsin does well, that’s good for northern Wisconsin, and vice versa. The insults don’t help.

Duffy seemed to be doing his best Trump impersonation on Fox’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” feigning a Red Scare and getting his facts wrong. Duffy, R-Wausau, claimed Dane County is the only county in Wisconsin tallying ballots by hand during the ongoing recount of our presidential vote.

He was off by at least 50 of 72 counties. Even Duffy’s home county of Marathon, as well as others in his district, planned to do hand recounts. Duffy used his false claim about Dane being a stubborn exception to theorize that Madison liberals were slowing the recount for political purposes.

Madison can be fiercely partisan and flirts with socialism at times. But the real communists are in Cuba (which President Obama is opening to more capitalism) and lingering in Russia (whose leader Trump likes to tout).

Soglin gave Cuban dictator Fidel Castro a symbolic key to Madison four decades ago. But the mayor also has worked in the financial industry and at Epic Systems, one of the state’s fastest growing private companies.

So how about we put this flap behind us, comrades … er, gentlemen, and treat each other with more civility and respect.


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