Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers put the National Guard on notice Wednesday to protect state buildings, including the Capitol, after vandals smashed windows at the Statehouse, tore down statues and attacked a state senator.
“We are prepared to activate the Wisconsin National Guard to protect state buildings and infrastructure and are continuing to work with local law enforcement to understand their response to last night’s events and their plan to respond to similar events in the future,” Mr. Evers, a Democrat, said in a statement.
State Sen.Van Wanggaard, a Republican, said the governor “MUST step up and call out the National Guard and send the message that violence WILL NOT be tolerated.”
“Let Madison police protect life if they are still allowed. The National Guard can protect state property,” he tweeted.
The violence erupted Tuesday night in Madison after the arrest of a black man who brought a megaphone and a baseball bat into a restaurant near the Capitol.
Protesters reacting to the arrest broke glass at the Tommy Thompson Center, smashed windows and lights at the Capitol, and set a fire at a local jail. They also tore down two statues, including one honoring Col. Christian Heg, an abolitionist.
During the episode, Democratic state Sen. Tim Carpenter was assaulted after filming the protesters.
Mr. Carpenter tweeted that taking pictures “got me assaulted & beat up. Punched/kicked in the head, neck, ribs. 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!” he said.
The violence in Madison occurred on the same day that Vice President Mike Pence visited the battleground state to talk about school choice. President Trump is scheduled to travel to Wisconsin on Thursday, with a stop at a shipyard in Marinette.
The governor wished Mr. Carpenter “a quick recovery.” He said the people who committed crimes are hurting the cause of protesters for racial justice.
“We also cannot allow ourselves to forget the reason why these protests began: because of the murder of George Floyd, of Breonna Taylor, of the many black lives taken before them, and because racism and structural inequality still pervade this country,” Mr. Evers said. “Violence against any person — whether in the middle of the street in broad daylight, at home trying to sleep, going for a run, or happening upon a protest, as was the case last night — is wrong.”
He said the people “who committed these acts of violence will be held accountable.”