WI state senator reportedly assaulted during protest that toppled statue of abolitionist

A Democratic state Senator said he was assaulted outside the Wisconsin state capitol building in Madison Tuesday night after protesters toppled two statues — including one created by a pioneering woman sculptor and another of an abolitionist who died fighting the Confederacy in the US Civil War.

State Sen. Tim Carpenter told a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter at the scene that he was attacked while taking a photo of protesters on his way back to complete some late-night work at the Capitol. A picture posted on Twitter by the reporter, Lawrence Andrea, showed Carpenter doubled over on one knee in apparent pain following the incident.

“I don’t know what happened… all I did was stop and take a picture, and the next thing I’m getting five, six punches, getting kicked in the head,” he said.

This new round of protests in Madison were sparked by the recent arrest of a black man who entered a restaurant near the capitol with a megaphone and a baseball bat.

He was identified by the Wisconsin State Journal as Devonere Johnson, a local activist and organizer who was shown on cellphone video following a white customer inside the restaurant. In the footage, Johnson calls the man racist, and shouts various profanities through the bullhorn he’s carrying.

During the protests Tuesday, attendees toppled Wisconsin’s ‘Forward’ statue, a seven-foot-tall bronze sculpture depicting a woman standing on the prow of a boat. It was made by the artist Jean Pond Miner, and was placed near the capitol steps in 1895 — ‘an unusual honor for a woman of her day,’ according to the Wisconsin Historical Society.

Later, the group also dragged away a statue of Col. Christian Heg, an abolitionist who died fighting for the Union during the US Civil war. That statue was thrown into a nearby lake, according to the Journal Sentinel.

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