Wisconsin state Senator says he was assaulted during protests near Capitol building

Wisconsin state Senator says he was assaulted during protests near Capitol building

A state Senator from Wisconsin said he could be suffering from a concussion after he was reportedly attacked during a night of angry protests in Madison, where demonstrators took to the streets, smashed windows and toppled the statue of an iconic abolitionist.

Democratic Sen. Tim Carpenter that he was on his way back to the Capitol building to wrap up some unfinished work late Tuesday night when he paused to take a photo of approaching protesters.

“I don’t know what happened ... all I did was stop and take a picture ... and the next thing I’m getting five-six punches, getting kicked in the head,” told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Cellphone video shared on Twitter early Wednesday sees a large group of people marching down a sidewalk when they suddenly approach Carpenter, who is behind the camera at the time. From there, the screen begins to shake and appears to fall before it goes dark.

In an accompanying tweet, Carpenter said he was attacked by “8-10 people” and that he may have a concussion after getting punched and kicked in the head, neck and ribs. He added that vision in his left eye was blurry and that his neck remained sore in wake of the attack.

“This has to stop before some innocent person get killed. I locked up in the Capitol until it’s safe,” Carpenter added.

Demonstrations kicked off in the city of Madison earlier in the day, with tensions fueled by the afternoon arrest of a Black man, who was taken into custody for allegedly taking a baseball bat into a restaurant. He was identified by the Wisconsin State Journal as a local activist Devonere Johnson.

The unrest comes amid weeks of nationwide demonstrations, prompted by the Memorial Day death of George Floyd, who died in police custody in Minneapolis. Video of some of his final moments see the 46-year-old calling out for help while a police officer kneels down on his neck.

The killing has prompted marches and demonstration as well as riots, destruction and looting that have forced several municipalities to enact strict curfews. In some cities, demonstrators have toppled statues of Confederate heroes and other symbols of slavery and oppression.

Protesters also knocked over statues in Madison on Tuesday, including the state’s seven-foot “Forward” sign. It was initially erected outside of the capitol building in 1895 — but protesters tore down a replica that was commissioned in the 1990s.

Wisconsin’s state motto is “Forward,” according to the Sentinel.

Later in the day, a statue of Col Christian Heg, an anti-slavery activist killed fighting for the Union during the Civil War, was dragged away from it spot outside the government building.

The nearly 100-year-old rendering was reportedly decapitated and its head as tossed into the water nearby.