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Madison police brace for weekend of protests

Chief Shon Barnes says specialty units will be activated.
Chief Shon Barnes says specialty units will be activated.
Published: May. 13, 2022 at 8:42 AM CDT|Updated: May. 13, 2022 at 6:36 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Facing a weekend filled with expected demonstrations and high emotions, Madison Police Department Chief Shon Barnes is assuring the public that his department will be prepared to ensure the planned protests stay safe while still allowing participants a chance to have their voices heard.

In a statement, released Friday morning, MPD Chief Shon Barnes reiterated the department’s commitment to supporting First Amendment expression, adding “[o]ur hope is that all gatherings remain peaceful allowing participants to openly and safely stand-up for their beliefs, whatever they may be.”

Barnes noted that one of the protests, which is set to take place Saturday at Capitol building, will likely draw thousands of protestors. The event comes in response to last week’s leak of a draft copy of a U.S. Supreme Court verdict that would strike down Roe v. Wade, which would likely make most abortion procedures illegal in Wisconsin.

Extra officers will patrol that demonstration, Barnes assured. He also noted that MPD’s Special Events Team and Mounted Patrol will be there as well as other specialty units. Back at a command post, overseeing the response, will be MPD leadership, he added.

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