In a statement on social media, Kelly Powers, president of the Madison Professional Police Association, sharply criticized Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway and the Common Council. The statement is below:
The men and women of the MPPOA have a set of core values that dictate our actions. Some of those are handed down through the MPD’s institutional best practice, while the rest of those values represent each member’s unique moral code. With that in mind, we respect the right to free speech, and to organize for the purposes of free speech. We defend those rights both philosophically and literally as we serve as guardians for those that want to express them lawfully.
What is happening in our city after organized peaceful protests is lawlessness. When law enforcement spends the entire night into the morning hours being hit with projectiles and dodging flaming dumpsters this is not protest, it is lawlessness. When we’re fielding multiple shots fired calls, including on State Street, that is not protest. When we’re navigating the broken glass and looting, that is not protest. For those who believe these incidents amount to simple protest and exercising free speech, we assure you from our front row seat, it is not.
When Alders have the audacity to suggest with such aplomb that these last few nights were a “gross and unnecessary display of force” we notice the language they use to describe it is exactly what creates the community divide and mistrust they suggest they are trying to avoid. We’re confident the MPD will provide these Alders the information requested, and that it will establish what we all already know. Each of the last few nights officers arrived and did the very best they could to contain the lawlessness that our Mayor seems to believe is simply an extension of ones’ right to express themselves.
While the Mayor pitched herself as the one who brings people together, it seems clear today this was never her intent. She, along with this select faction of Alders, are placing the lives and welfare of officers and civilians alike at risk with diatribe that only fuels rhetoric.