A Facebook friend of mine. Brian Austin wrote the following words about Madison, local law enforcement, and the current situation we find ourselves. It is perfectly stated and correctly toned. I support each word. As such I post it in its entirety.
I am incredibly proud of the men and women of MPD. It has been an exhausting couple of days, with possibly more to come. I am not going to try to process the last few days until I have had some sleep, but I will say this:
I loudly and publicly denounced the murder of George Floyd, as did my coworkers. The City of Madison has an educated, caring police department that wants to be a partner in the solution to the disparities in our community. Yes, there is institutionalized racism throughout our society, and there are also police allies who want to be a part of positive change. I beg you not to be so cynical that you believe this is not possible. I can acknowledge the role policing has played in the oppression of people of color. I can also acknowledge the incredible talent, compassion, and contribution the women and men of MPD bring to our community. Those two concepts are not mutually exclusive.
MPD has done everything in our power to protect the First Amendment rights of those protesting. While I wish as a human that the anger wasn’t doled out in such a wide swath, I understand why it is so and will continue to work to establish common understanding and compassion with an outstretched hand.
But the grotesque behavior I have witnessed occurring after the protests are over is utterly unacceptable. Just as I call out the murder of George Floyd, I call out a situation that has to stop. Our small business community, already struggling to survive, is being utterly destroyed. My coworkers have endured rocks, bricks, large chunks of concrete, flaming dumpsters, spit, and physical assault. My team was shot at 2 nights ago. The men and women of MPD have responded with restraint and judiciousness under extraordinarily trying circumstances. If you think otherwise, I am happy to discuss offline, but I am telling you with every fiber of my being that you are mistaken. For those willing to still have a conversation about how we move forward together, I am, as always, ready and willing to truly listen.
For those who are burning my City and hurting my officers, this must stop now.
These views are my personal observations. I don’t speak on behalf of my employer.