‘I’m happy to do that’: Madison Police Chief speaks with Black community leaders about showing solidarity with protesters

Police CAR

MADISON, Wis. – Interim Madison Police Chief Vic Wahl said he has had conversations with leaders in the Black community and is open to showing solidarity with the demonstrators who have protested police brutality for the past four days following the death of George Floyd.

Tension has run high over the course of the protests, including Sunday night, when police deployed tear gas after they say a group of people threw rocks at officers.

A number of local police agencies took part in a town hall in response to Floyd’s death last week, including the Madison Police Department, represented by Wahl.

“I think what we want to try to do is highlight that common ground, and certainly if there’s an opportunity for us to show that support or for me to show that sort of support or common ground I’m happy to do that,” Wahl said.

He spoke with Michael Johnson, Boys & Girls Club of Dane County president. Johnson asked Wahl if he would show solidarity with protesters by considering removing military gear or kneeling beside them. Johnson and Wahl said they’re working to find the right environment to do so.

Johnson acknowledged not all protesters are in support of this.

“To be clear, I’m not trying to take away the voice of anybody,” he said. “We want this protest to happen in a healthy environment.”