State legislators told be diligent in ‘evolving situation’ over threat to WI State Capitol
MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) – Capitol Police told Wisconsin state lawmakers to be cautious in the days leading up to Inauguration Day as law enforcement continues to assess the general threat against state Capitols and government buildings in the coming days.
A source told CBS 58 lawmakers were sent a letter from Capitol Police telling them to be ‘diligent’ and offering advice on what to be aware of and the status of threat assessments.
“At this time, Capitol Police is not aware of specific credible threats to legislators,” the letter read. “However, this remains an evolving situation and there continues to be active social media commentary regarding the threat of ongoing unrest.”
The United States Postal Service removed collection boxes around the State Capitol in a precautionary measure.
“Due to reports of possible demonstrations beginning this weekend, out of an abundance of caution for the safety of our employees and to prevent damage to postal equipment, a number of blue collection boxes near the capitol are being temporarily removed from service,” USPS said in a statement to CBS 58.
In a media briefing, Governor Tony Evers assured the public the state was prepared to address any potential violence.
“We are well prepared,” Evers said. “There’s lots of rumors going around, clearly we are not overreacting and certainly not underreacting, but we feel confident we’re in a safe place here around the Capitol.”
Along with Capitol Police, the Madison Police Department, UW-Madison Police Department, Dane County Sheriff’s Office, State Patrol and National Guard are all set to work together to secure the Capitol in the days leading up to Inauguration Day.
State Patrol said it is prepared to support its law enforcement partners. Leaders also said they will observe people’s right to peacefully protest but will not tolerate unlawful violence.
“We’re going to be there to make sure that folks are safe, as best as we can possibly do that,” State Patrol Superintendent Anthony Burrell told CBS 58 in an interview. “We’re saying if you’re going to do that, if you’re going to come do so be peaceful and orderly so that there are no issues.”
An event scheduled for Sunday, Jan. 17 to voice support Jacob Blake in Madison was postponed because of concerns of violence with pro-Trump groups. Urban Triage, one of the organizations hosting the event, said the decision to postpone was about safety and making sure the event can still go on to share its message to the community in a nonviolent manner.
“We want to not let our mission and not let our cause be muddied by the thugs that are trying to come out and destroy property,” Alex Brooks, a communications specialist at Urban Triage told CBS 58.
In Milwaukee, faith leaders called for peace and justice at an event outside America’s Black Holocaust Museum. They also criticized the differenced in treatment by law enforcement of pro-Trump supporters who attacked the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 compared to racial justice protesters throughout 2020.
“What I think those cowards did was unacceptable,” Rev. Greg Lewis, executive director of Souls to the Polls, said of the people who attacked the U.S. Capitol. “What really has angered me is that Every time we demonstrate as people and a window gets broke or some guy comes along and does some looting, we are called animals.”