Police in Madison are beefing up security around the state Capitol after a warning from the FBI earlier this week, in anticipation of right-wing protests in Madison and beyond.
The memo warned of possible armed protests at state capitals in the days around President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration next Wednesday — continued fall-out from President Trump’s incitement of a violent mob last week.
Interim Madison Chief of Police Vic Wahl says the MPD is working with local, state and federal departments to prepare for potential armed crowds in the coming days. Chief Wahl says there are no specific, direct threats to Madison.
“With that being said we work very closely with our state and federal partners to maintain knowledge, situational awareness of the latest intelligence,” Wahl said.
Wahl added that the only known protest so far, a mutual aid action protesting for justice for Jacob Blake, is set for midday Sunday.
Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway asked residents to report any suspicious activity they witness to the police. She also assured residents that the National Guard, which Governor Tony Evers had activated on Monday, would be assisting the Capitol police in the coming weeks.
“I’m hoping that the week will pass without incident,” Rhodes-Conway said, “but I want Madison residents to know that we are prepared.”
In a press release today, the Badger State Sheriffs Association, made up of the Sheriffs from all 72 Wisconsin counties, urged civility and for everyone to “exercise their constitutional rights with discretion, care, and common sense in mind.”
In a statement also released today, Dane County Sheriff David Mahoney called for a period of calm, writing, “our deputies and police officers will always protect your right to assemble and to air grievances, but only in a peaceful manner. The time is now for our Nation to gather in unity and peace.”
Workers boarded up the first floor windows of the Capitol building earlier this week, and Wisconsin Public Radio reports concrete barricades have been added around the state Capitol.
Channel 3000 also reports today that the USPS has temporarily removed mailboxes from downtown Madison ahead of any potential demonstrations.