Baraboo police chief responds to ‘polarizing’ photo, encourages community to move forward

Baraboo police chief responds to ‘polarizing’ photo, encourages community to move forward

Baraboo police Chief Mark Schauf says the issues surrounding the viral picture of high schoolers appearing to show an anti-Semitic gesture go beyond his community.

“This issue has been very polarizing not just for our community, but state, nation, worldwide,” Schauf said.

Schauf said last week was “a really long week” for Baraboo, trying to deal with the response to the picture.

“People are really outraged. And I understand why they’re outraged, I really do,” Schauf told News 3 This Morning. “And that’s not a bad thing. Outrage isn’t a bad thing if you’ve been offended or have had an issue, but the bigger key is how can we push that forward.”

Schauf said there have been a number of threats since the photo came out.

“We’ve had a lot of calls to not only the school district, the school board, the school superintendent, but to the mayor, the city administrator, to the police department, threats and we’ve all been called things none of us anticipated.”

Schauf added the police department is still investigating the matter, but his team isn’t looking into First Amendment issues. He said if there was intent to harass someone online, there may be a case, but the process to find out who ran the Twitter account that posted the photo is not so simple.

“It’s important also for people to understand that I can’t just call social media outlets – Facebook or Twitter – and say, ‘Hey give me the information on who,'” Schauf explained. “I need a search warrant to do that or I need a subpoena to do that. I need a court document. To get those documents, I need a judge’s order, and to have a judge’s order, I need probable cause that a crime was committed and that that person may have committed that crime or that evidence is germane to that.”

ONLY ON NEWS 3: Baraboo police chief Mark Schauf talks about moving forward after a photo of high school students went viral —

Posted by WISC-TV / Channel 3000 on Monday, November 19, 2018

Schauf said he’s hopeful that community meetings, like the one scheduled for Monday night, is the start of a long process of dealing with the issues that are causing so many emotion responses aimed at his city. He said the community needs to acknowledge that many people — including the boys in the photo — have been hurt, and then try to move on.

“How are we going to go forward? What is the path forward? Take our outrage about what happened on either side of it and push forward to action,” Schauf said.

Schauf plans to join Baraboo’s mayor, the school district administrator, and a local rabbi at Monday night’s community forum, which starts at 6 p.m. at Baraboo High School.

“At the end of the day, we still have to wake up tomorrow in our community,” Schauf said.

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