Police Chief Wahl: “If it's peaceful disobedience, we're often going to tolerate that”
Hoping for a quote 'calm night,’ Madison's police chief explained how his policing response has changed, by separating crime from first amendment rights.
Over three consecutive nights, Interim Police Chief Vic Wahl has directed how his officers respond, and is "fine tuning" the strategy as he goes.
Regarding Sunday’s events, “there were officers standing, observing and members of the crowd focused on them. Surrounded them. That's what caused the incident to escalate from a peaceful protest to a violent one,” Wahl tells NBC15 News.
Then on Monday, no officers were seen on the Capitol Square at first. The chief says his officers arrived only with reports of looting.
This organized violence, he explains, is not the same as the protest.
“Those people are often embedded and often use that larger crowd as anonymity and cover for their action. It's very difficult to police those things effectively,” said Wahl.
Regarding Tuesday night’s protest: “If it's peaceful disobedience, we're often going to tolerate that,” the Chief says.
Meanwhile, Gov. Tony Evers called for the legislature to pass a law to reduce the use of police force and urged a so-called "united battle" against racism.