A Democratic state senator said he was assaulted outside the Wisconsin state capitol building in Madison Tuesday night after protesters toppled two statues – including one created by a pioneering woman sculptor and another of an abolitionist who died fighting the Confederacy in the U.S. Civil War.
State Sen. Tim Carpenter told a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter at the scene that he was attacked while taking a photo of the protesters on his way back to complete some late-night work at the Capitol. A picture posted on Twitter by the reporter, Lawrence Andrea, showed Carpenter doubled over on one knee in apparent pain following the incident.
“I don’t know what happened … all I did was stop and take a picture, and the next thing was getting five, six punches, getting kicked in the head,” he said.
This new round of protests in Madison was sparked by the recent arrest of a black man who entered a restaurant near the capitol with a megaphone and a baseball bat.
He was identified by the Wisconsin State Journal as Devonere Johnson, a local activist and organizer who was shown on cellphone video following a white customer inside the restaurant. In the footage, Johnson calls the racist man, and shouts various profanities through the bullhorn contingent.
During the protests Tuesday, attendees toppled Wisconsin’s ‘Forward’ statue, a seven-foot-tall bronze sculpture depicting a woman standing on a boat’s prow. It was made by the artist Jean Pond Miner, and was placed near the capitol steps in 1895 – ‘an unusual honor for a woman of her day,’. according to the Wisconsin Historical Society.
Later, the group also dragged away a statue of Col. Christian Heg, an abolitionist who died fighting for the Union during the US Civil War. That statue was thrown into a nearby lake, according to the Journal Sentinel.