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Why Mayoral Candidate Scott Resnick Is Wrong By Signing Letter About Madison Shooting

March 14, 2015

There is no doubt that much pain and anguish has taken place in my neighborhood over the past week since the shooting of a young man by a Madison police officer.  From the moment the ambulances arrived along with a block-full of squad cars there has been one constant theme that has echoed here and around the city.  Since the 19-year-old victim was black and the officer white it simply had to be a case of racism playing out in our city like that which has struck other places such as Ferguson and New York City.

The fact is we do not yet know the full extent of the events that played out on Williamson Street that led to the shooting.  That investigation is still underway and the report is at least more than week away from being turned over to the Dane County District Attorney.   In plain language, no one can lay claim to knowing what really happened the night of the shooting.

But we do know in this city, like in far too many other places around the country there are institutional problems that result in racial disparities.  Educational opportunities and graduation rates, arrests patterns for certain types of crimes, and incarnation rates all have, most regrettably, a racial component.  We all should be able to agree on the problem, and agree to strive to address them in a forthright manner.

If that is where the matter ended we could all agree that common sense needs to win the day.  But of course that is not the end of the story.

More than 40 Madison City Council members, School Board members and Dane County Board members signed a joint statement released Friday calling Robinson’s death a “horrible tragedy.”   (And we all would agree with that description.)

“Many of the incidents, shootings and deaths that we see reported on the news find their root cause in the intolerable (racial) disparity present in our community,” they said in the letter.

It is that last line and the fact that Madison mayoral candidate Scott Resnick signed it that makes me very aware that he made a mistake that undercuts his ability to lead this city.

By adding one’s name to the letter with the sentiment about the shooting before the investigation is complete shows a lack of appreciation for the spelled out process of how the investigation is to proceed.  To strongly infer that the events in places around the nation are in any way similar to the Williamson Street shooting or that racism in the Madison Police Department played any role before all the facts are made known is simply politics at the shallow end of the pool. 

I understand that Resnick is the challenger to city hall and he is in search of traction in this campaign.  But for him to sign off on a letter that  in any way infers a racist motive to the shooting at this point is simply something that mature and reasonable voters can not abide.

One has to wonder if elected as mayor Resnick will continue to make statements based on guesses, hunches, and suspicions.  That is after all what he is doing in regards to the shooting on Williamson Street.

One Comment
  1. Solly permalink
    March 15, 2015 11:51 AM

    did you really think Madison politicians would pass up a chance to pander? Silly Wabbit

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