Video shows UW employee on motorcycle running into student protesters

MADISON, Wis. — On Friday, a group of protesters had created a barrier of cars in the street along the capitol square to protect others from getting hit, when Rich Yaeger rode up on his motorcycle to confront them.

After an argument, Yaeger, who is a senior power plant operator on campus, revved his engine and ran into the group. UW-Madison student Tarah Stangler said he ran over her foot.

“Thankfully it’s not broken. I went in and had it x-rayed. I just have some really severe bruising where you can literally see the indent of the tire on my foot,” said Stangler.

Video taken by a bystander shows Yaeger run his motorcycle through the crowd, hitting about five people.

Yaeger was also taking video on his phone. He posted five different videos to YouTube and Facebook showing part of the confrontation. In many of the videos he is heard using racist and demeaning language. In the description of the videos on his YouTube page, he calls the moment he ran into people “glorious.” He also writes about how he claimed the capitol square as his.

In the video, you can hear him tell Stangler his motorcycle could suck her braids up.

“It’ll rip them right out of your head,” said Yaeger.

He also said he had a flashlight to hit someone over the head with.

A UW spokesperson said the university is investigating, but wouldn’t say if Yaeger is on leave.

“We’re really pushing the university to actually make a comment. It’s not going to be enough if they’re just like, “We’ll fire him.” It’s like no, you need to make it very clear that you’re against white supremacy and you’re against the actions of this individual. Because he hit your students,” said Stangler.

She said she has little faith the university will do that.

“If they don’t comment on it, that’s just further proof that we understand where they stand on this stuff. And it’s all performative activism at this point,” said Stangler.

The Madison Police Department also has an open investigation on this incident.