Yisrael Ami is a local business owner and Madison resident. Last Wednesday, Ami — who is Black — was at Portillo’s near the East Towne Mall. He and his family had stopped at the local restaurant for a quick bite to eat.
But, as he was parked in the parking lot, a group of about ten vehicles pulled in, each bearing pro-Trump gear.
Ami says that he was already on high alert that day, as Pro-Trump protesters had been spotted driving through downtown Madison and at the Wisconsin State Capitol. It was also the same day a mob, incited by President Trump, stormed the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC.
“So when they pull in the parking lot, I instantaneously get a little nervous,” Ami told WORT. “So, then a lady pulls alongside me, she starts hollering racial slurs and calling me all kinds of names. Then I look out my rearview mirror and the other cars are starting to park. So one guy is coming up from behind me calling me the N-word and telling me to go home.”
“So I called 911 after the lady started shouting stuff,” he continued. “And it just went on from there. It just got really bad really quick, and I called 911 and… that’s what happened and we left.”
After the verbal assault, Ami says that he reached out to other Black residents and Madisonians to warn them of the incident and the potential dangers the Trump supporters posed.
“You know, basically giving them a heads up saying ‘Look, Trump supporters are here, they’re agitated and we seem to be the target.’”
A spokesperson for the Madison Police Department confirmed to WORT that they have opened an investigation into the incident.
Corey Marionneux is the founder of the Black Men Coalition of Dane County, a group of Black residents, business owners and community leaders. He says that potentially violent Trump supporters pose a threat to everyone.
“If they would do it right in Washington, why wouldn’t they do it here?” he asks. “It can drastically go in any direction, which is kind of sad because we’re all Americans and it shouldn’t be what it looks like — a hostile takeover.”
Marionneux adds that, despite the danger, he’s not going to spend his life living in fear.
“I’m just going to hope that we don’t clash, because I won’t be putting my head and walking the other way for no man. Especially a group that’s being negative and unethical towards humanity,” Marionneux says.
Incidents of hate attacks happened across the US the same day as the Trump insurrection.
In Los Angeles, Berlinda Nibo, a Black woman, was beaten and pepper sprayed by a mob of Trump supporters. Christian Angelo — who was counter protesting the Trump mob– was also maced by Trump supporters outside L.A. City Hall.
At the U.S. capitol building, as the mob thronged through the doors Eugene Goodman, a Black capitol officer, diverted a group of mostly-white pro-Trump insurrectionists. Goodman reportedly drew the mob in the opposite direction of the Senate chambers to protect several lawmakers who were still inside.
(PHOTO: Pro-Trump protesters at a Freedom Rally at the state capitol on April 24th, 2020 / Chali Pittman)