Madison leaders, march organizer respond to unrest and protester arrest

NOW: Madison leaders, march organizer respond to unrest and protester arrest

MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58) -- The Wisconsin National Guard was on standby in Madison Wednesday, after unrest in the capitol city Tuesday night.

During a Wednesday news conference on Zoom, Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway said the "dangerous behaviors" are far from the peaceful protest that many in Madison support.

She condemned the violence and chaos.

“It is important that we separate First Amendment protests  from those engaged in  criminal conduct," Rhodes-Conway said.

The marched turned after the arrest of protester, Devonere Johnson, who goes by Yeshua Musa, entered a restaurant with a megaphone and baseball bat.

Johnson has been tentatively charged with disorderly conduct while armed, resisting arrest, and attempted escape, according to our sister station WISC. 

“Yeshua gets locked up for peacefully protesting, which is his right. They said he has a bat, never swung the bat," Organizer Kashawn Johnson said.

He acknowledged the toppled statues, and violence that erupted after the arrest.

But one said the actions of some are detracting from the message.

“That’s the only thing that’s being heard and worried about right now is these statues, not about how Black people were getting taken away from their families, not about how Black people are getting killed and police are getting off with it," Johnson continued.

On the same Zoom call as the mayor, Common Council President Sheri Carter also called for the violence to end.

“We must come together," Carter said. “We must be honest with each other and more importantly, we must be able to be unified in what we’re asking for.”

Rhodes-Conway said she's asked for Devonere Johnson's case to be moved quickly through the court system. 

She hopes it will lead to a better understanding of what happened and bring resolution sooner.

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