Gov. Evers Says Law Enforcement Is 'Well Prepared' To Protect The Madison Capitol Building

Jan 15, 2021

There are no confirmed reports of any weekend protests in Wisconsin by supporters of President Donald Trump. But Gov. Tony Evers said Friday afternoon that law enforcement is "well-prepared" to protect the state Capitol building in Madison. 

There have been rumors of potential armed protests at state capitols following the Jan. 6 chaos at the U.S. Capitol, which resulted in numerous arrests of pro-Trump extremists.

Earlier this week, Evers announced the mobilization of some Wisconsin National Guard members in the Madison area. Boards were put on some state Capitol windows.

During an online COVID-19 briefing with the news media Friday, Evers said: "We have National Guard in place close to the Capitol, as well as people from the State Patrol, Capitol Police, Madison Police -- they're all working together." 

The Dane County Sheriff's Department is also involved.

Evers said the state Capitol building remains closed to the public, and there won't be any sessions of the state Assembly or state Senate taking place.

"There's lots of rumors going around and clearly, we are not over-reacting, and certainly not under-reacting. We feel confident we're in a safe place here, around the Capitol," said Evers.

Wisconsin National Guard spokesman, Maj. Joe Trovato, emphasized the Guard is mobilized to assist the state Capitol Police, if needed. 

"Our troops are going to be serving in a direct support role to them. We're not the lead agency in any kind of response," said Trovato.

The Guard has been deployed to Kenosha two times since August, in response to demonstrations against the police shooting of a Black man, Jacob Blake. The Guard was deployed to Wauwatosa in October, following a decision not to issue charges against then-Wauwatosa police officer Joseph Mensah for his fatal shooting of Black teenager Alvin Cole in early 2020.

As to being mobilized in Madison, Trovato said "we pride ourselves in being a versatile, agile force."

The website madison.com reports two demonstrations are expected in downtown Madison Sunday. One of them is described as an "antifascist mutual aid action" and involves the group Urban Triage and the Madison General Defense Committee of the IWW. The website reports Madison police say the other event is election-related.

Trovato says Madison is the only Wisconsin community currently requesting National Guard assistance.