Protest organizer Marquon Clark is being held in the Dane County Jail on charges of probation violation after he was stopped by police at a stoplight near Verona Road on Tuesday evening. He has not been charged, but is a person of interest in connection with last week’s attempted arson of the City County Building, according to a police report.
Clark, who also goes by the name Sire GQ, is a frequent participant in Madison’s protests against police brutality and systemic injustice. He’s also an organizer with the What’s Next Forum.
Speaking with WORT at a meeting of the group last month, Clark said he founded the Forum to foster an open discussion about racial justice.
“Protesting is good, but if we’re not getting all our issues out, we’re frustrated. A lot of that stuff is bottled in,” he said. “Through these protests I see a lot of angry faces, because they want to voice themselves but they’re not being heard. So we’re giving everybody their opportunity to be heard.”
Last Tuesday, demonstrations against the arrest of another protester, Devonere Johnson, lasted from Tuesday afternoon into the early hours of Wednesday morning.
During that protest, the City County Building was “firebombed by an unidentified person,” according to Dane County Executive Joe Parisi.
That started a small fire in a city engineering office, which was quickly extinguished, according to police. No injuries were reported, although the city’s 911 center was evacuated.
The City County building also houses the county’s juvenile correctional facility, as well as 180 jail inmates.
Mayor Rhodes-Conway issued a statement yesterday commending Madison Police for their detention of Clark, writing that “This incredibly serious crime could have resulted in the serious injuries or deaths of not only city and county employees, but also the vulnerable populations at the Dane County Jail and Juvenile Detention Center.”
Yesterday evening, a group of 150 protesters assembled outside Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne’s home to demand the release of Clark as well as three other protesters arrested in recent weeks; Devonere Johnson, Gregg James and Kelsey Nelson.