At least 15 arrested in second night of vandalism, fires in downtown Madison


MADISON, Wis. — At least 15 people have been arrested after a second night of protests devolved into more violence in Madison, according to police.

In a blog post, Interim Chief Vic Wahl says officers were present starting at around 6 p.m. Sunday, when a group started protesting peacefully on the Capitol Square. The group grew to several hundred people over the next few hours, extending beyond the 9:30 p.m. curfew set by Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway.

Wahl says despite the curfew, officers did not engage the crowd and allowed them to continue as things remained peaceful.

Things changed shortly before 10 p.m., according to police. That’s when Wahl says a group of people surrounded officers in standard uniform who had been observing the protests and threw items at the officers, hitting one officer in the face.

That led to additional officers responding to the area and deploying chemical agents in an attempt to break up the crowd, which then scattered throughout downtown.

Into the early morning hours, multiple stores in the State Street area were once again looted and multiple fires were started. News 3 Now crews witnessed people setting fire to garbage in dumpsters and shoving them into the middle of streets. Several fires were also set on Langdon Street, before people living in fraternity and sorority houses helped firefighters douse the flames with water from their homes.

The 15 people arrested included one person who was armed with a gun while looting and several people who tried to steal a Madison police squad car.

“MPD remains committed to protecting First Amendment rights and maintaining public safety,” Wahl said in his blog post. “Unfortunately, over the last two nights a number of individuals have been intent on acting in a violent and destructive manner.”