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Groups rally outside Dane Co. Jail following Capitol Square arrest

Protesters outside Dane Co. Jail following Capitol Square arrest.
Protesters outside Dane Co. Jail following Capitol Square arrest.(Lou Thao/WMTV)
Published: Jun. 23, 2020 at 5:43 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Protesters assembled outside the Dane County Jail and the Capitol building Tuesday after the arrest of a 28-year-old man outside a Capitol Square restaurant. The demonstrations culminated that night when the Forward statue and one honoring Hans Christian Heg were brought down.

The situated started hours earlier after the owner of The Coopers Tavern called 911 around 12:30 p.m. after a man with a bat and bullhorn entered the restaurant and an outdoor seating area, and began disrupting patrons, police said.

Within hours of the arrest, Madison Police released two videos of the incident. In a cell phone video, recorded by a customer, the 28-year-old man is seen approaching other patrons inside and outside the restaurant, and speaking through a bullhorn. At one point, he is overheard saying, “I am {expletive} disturbing the [expletive] out of this restaurant, and I got an [expletive] bat.”

A witness, Alan Robinson, captured another angle of the arrest.

In the second video, a street camera captures the suspect’s encounter with police. Officers contacted him as he left the outdoor dining area. The video shows several officers and the man struggling on the sidewalk.

One of the patrons at the restaurant sitting outside, Eann Potter, is seen in the street camera footage approaching police to talk to them as they arrested the man. Potter said while he did not necessarily agree with the way the man was demonstrating, he felt the police response was too harsh and they overreacted.

“People at the restaurant, including myself, started to yell at the police officers to let him go. He wasn’t being violent, he wasn’t doing anything that wrong,” Potter said.

Less than three hours after the arrest, protesters had gathered near the Dane Co. jail, speaking about the way in which officers arrested the man.

“We know that black people are overpoliced and systematically terrorized by the police or else we wouldn’t be in the streets everywhere across America,” Robinson said.

Within 30 minutes of the protest starting, a group barricaded the road and a man who drove up in a white truck confronted the protesters, a clash that NBC15′s Brittney Ermon caught on video.

According to Robinson, the man “decided then he was going to move his truck through protesters who got in front of his vehicle and he moved his truck forward in a threatening way, using certain profanities, saying get out of my way.”

Police officers arrived on the scene a short time later. They escorted the driver of the truck to another squad car and drove away.

“What they did is they made sure he was safe,” Robinson said. “We would like that same courtesy. If we don’t get it then Black lives don’t matter, do they?”

NBC15 has reached out to MPD to learn what happened to the driver and were told by the officer-in-charge that they have not produced an incident report yet.

Anyone with cellphone video or pictures of the incident, may share them HERE.

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