Complaint: Verona man uses sledgehammer to break restaurant windows during civil unrest in Madison

Jordan King

MADISON, Wis. — A Verona man has been accused of using a sledgehammer to cause damage during civil unrest in downtown Madison after the police shooting of Jacob Blake.

According to the criminal complaint, officials saw a man in a hooded sweatshirt who committed several acts of property damage early Tuesday morning. Police shared the man’s description over the air and gave officers updates on his location.

The man was later identified as Jordan King, 25. King was a friend of police shooting victim Tony Robinson and has since become a high-profile organizer for peaceful demonstrations around the Madison area, according to multiple sources.

The complaint said King was later seen walking near Wisconsin Avenue and East Mifflin Street and ran away toward the Wisconsin State Capitol after seeing several marked squad cars. Police said he was also seen removing some of his clothing in an attempt to change his appearance.

He was eventually found on the 10 block of West Mifflin Street. A detective approached King and identified himself as a Madison police officer. When police tried to handcuff King, the complaint said he pulled his hand away and threw his phone down the sidewalk. Officials said he tried standing up and had to be pushed back down.

While being searched, King told police he had brass knuckles in one of his jean pockets. King also told the detective he was carrying a handgun, which the officer did not immediately see.

The complaint said the detective found a holster on King’s hip after lifting his T-shirt. The officer removed the Smith and Wesson M&P 9 Shield 9 mm handgun that was inside of the holster and saw it was fully loaded, the complaint said.

Officials said King does not have a valid concealed weapon permit in Wisconsin.

Police searched King’s backpack and found two boxes of ammunition, the complaint said. The backpack also contained two bottles of unopened whiskey and the sweatshirt King was wearing earlier in the night prior to changing into different clothes.

The complaint said surveillance footage showed King damage a restaurant on West Mifflin Street shortly after 1:30 a.m. Other footage showed King changing his shirt before his arrest at about 2:10 a.m.

Police spoke to the restaurant’s general manager, who said there were six shattered front glass windows and one shattered front door window. He added that suspects had stolen wine bottle decorations from the window ledge and used them to smash more glass inside the building, with damages estimated at $12,000. The complaint said this estimate was later determined to be closer to $20,000.

Following King’s arrest, police found his sledgehammer laying in the grass near Wisconsin Avenue. The sledgehammer was 8 pounds and had damage along the wood and plastic that was “consistent with it hitting glass,” the complaint said.

King faces charges of felony criminal damage to a property of more than $2,500 and carrying a concealed weapon.

According to court records, King received a $500 signature bond per case in Dane County Circuit Court on Wednesday.

He also cannot possess any weapons and is not allowed to be in the State Street and Langdon area or the Capitol Square.

A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for Sept. 17 at 03:40 p.m.