Gov. Evers Blasted by WCPA
With Sunshine Week here I found it appropriate to focus on some of the records we have received. During an open records request, Never Stop Media received internal emails from the Mt. Pleasant Police Department regarding the opinion of Governor Tony Evers from the President of the Wisconsin Chiefs of Police Association, in response to the Governor’s comments about the shooting of Jacob Blake and the officer involved, Rusten Shesky.
In a PDF dated August 26th 2020, attached to various emails, addressed Governor Tony Evers and the Lieutenant Governor, Mandela Barnes in reference to “Press Releases and Statements in Reference to the Kenosha Police Involved Shooting” the attachment stated:
“Governor Evers and Lieutenant Governor Barnes: The purpose of this letter is to respectfully ask that those in your administration discontinue and refrain from making statements and issuing press releases specific to the City of Kenosha Police involved shooting until the facts of the investigation are known. Previous remarks and statements made by each of you are premature, judgmental, inflammatory and only add to the anger and divisiveness of an already dangerous situation. A continued pattern of statements and press releases based on opinion and unsubstantiated claims puts people’s lives at risk. These are not peaceful protests. There have already been two deaths and many injuries. Continued remarks like those already made by each of you have also put the lives of Law Enforcement Officers, National Guardsman and the public at risk. Law Enforcement Leaders also respectfully ask that you call for an end to these riots and a stop to the violence”.
If I recall specifically, deaths and injuries had nothing to do with Governor Evers comments, but instead the direct actions of law enforcement personnel that have yet to be addressed or held accountable for the role they played last August.
In an email sent to Chief Soens from Ken Pileggi the President of the WCPA, outlining a phone conversation with Governor Evers, Pileggi states “The nature of the call was to express our disgust with the comments that Governor Evers initially made to the press and the
subsequent comments he made regarding the incident in Kenosha with other releases, in essence convicting the officers of wrong doing prior to the conclusion of the investigation/determination of the District Attorney. Many of you have reached out to me very angry with the inflammatory rhetoric of the Governor and Lieutenant Governor regarding the incident as well as other elected officials, which have now spread onto the national stage as well with some elected officials and wanted us to respond. I pointed out to the Governor that other than a slight mention, the individual shot has an extensive violent criminal record including fighting with law enforcement officers and that had he not fought with these officers this would have never happened. In other words, suspects need to take personal responsibility for their actions that lead up to these types of situations they get themselves into”.
It has been all too common for law enforcement to immediately criminalize victims of police brutality and those who have suffered death by the hands of law enforcement helping the public to form an opinion of guilt. It’s ironic that Pileggi condemns opinion of guilt regarding police officers during critical incidents but is completely fine with assigning guilt to Jacob Blake before the facts came out which was the basis for his argument allowing officers “due process”.
Pileggi went on to state “The point being that he, as Governor, with his comments had de-legitimized police authority eroding people's trust in us in law enforcement overall which in turn could cause huge problems for our officers in the field, some with potentially fatal consequences”. We have to ask ourselves if comments and criticisms from elected officials or citizens regarding excessive use of force, police brutality and racial bias cause the lack of trust with law enforcement or if it’s actually caused by their own actions and behaviors. Another example of law enforcement shifting blame to take the focus off themselves and hide under that “thin blue line”, “wall of silence” and “qualified immunity.”
Mt. Pleasant is the same department who investigated Kyle Rittenhouse at Pudgy’s Pub regarding his potential violation of bond conditions as he was seen drinking in the bar, wearing his “Free As F**K t-shirt and being serenaded by his right wing supporters flashing white supremacy symbols, where Sgt. Geise was heard calling protestors “crazies” and who is also responsible for the shooting death of Tyrese West where conveniently no Body Cam footage is available and the Dash Cam storage was full. It is Mt. Pleasants policy that “officer’s safety comes first before activating their Body Cams”. It was no surprise to see this email sitting in Chief Soens email.
Pileggi goes on to state “We have all observed the unfair news reports from many different venues, many of which are completely untrue and full of lies without facts - including some releases from local elected leaders”.
I watched the news reports during the unrest in Kenosha and was also part of documenting it. I’m pretty sure if I recall correctly that news outlets didn’t produce “unfair reports” when it came to the treatment towards protestors especially when their armed militia counter parts were seen freely roaming the city. I never saw armed militia suffer from tear gas, mace balls and rubber bullets. I never saw armed militia get stopped, detained, or arrested for violating Kenosha’s fake curfew, but I definitely saw this happen to protestors. So what “unfair reports” towards law enforcement went out by any of the main stream media or all of the independent journalists that covered the events last August?
Pileggi called the Governor’s comments “rhetoric” and “unbelievable” and ended the email being open to legislative reform but “will not stand for our officers to be prosecuted in the court of public opinion without due process under the law, especially by those in elected positions, including the Governor”. Again, conveniently allowing the “court of public opinion” when it came to a black male who was shot in the back 7 times.
In another email sitting in Chief Soens inbox from the Chief of Police for the Fon Du Lac Police Department, William Lamb, he addresses WIPEG members which is the Wisconsin Police Executive Group. In Lambs email to Soens he states “Attached is a letter that has been sent to Governor Evers and LT Governor Barnes regarding the shooting incident in Kenosha. As you will see, it was sent on behalf of WIPEG, WCPA, BSSA, and WSDSA. The letter pretty much speaks for itself relative to the grave concerns held by most law enforcement officers across the state (if not the nation). Please feel free to share the letter as you deem appropriate. These are difficult times but please keep in mind that the vast majority of those that we serve staunchly support law enforcement – and stay strong”!
The WIPEG is the Wisconsin Police Executive Group, WCPA is the Wisconsin Chiefs of Police Association, BSSA is the Badger State Sheriffs Association and WSDSA is the Wisconsin Sheriff’s Deputy Sheriffs Association which we will address in another article at a later date. Some very intriguing information from secretive skull & bones organizations.
It seems Chiefs of Police across the state of Wisconsin have a large amount of disgust toward Governor Evers, especially considering Evers called for a “police reform” last August in a special session regarding a group of legislative bills that was introduced in June 2020 that outlined “establish statewide use of force standards for all law enforcement agencies identifying the use of deadly force as only allowable as a last resort and that such use of force should be limited to the least amount of force necessary, require officers to complete eight hours of training on the use of force and de-escalation techniques annually, create a $1 million grant program, administered by the Department of Justice, to fund community organizations that work to mediate conflicts, require law enforcement agencies to develop policies banning the use of chokeholds, require law enforcement agencies to prepare policies for the use of force and make such policies publicly available, put in statute a civil cause of action against unnecessarily calling police for the intent of infringing on a person’s constitutional rights, prohibit no-knock search warrants, require additional training and hiring standards for police departments, jails and juvenile detention centers.
Wisconsin is considered one of the worst states in the nation for racial disparities between white and Black communities in areas such as unemployment, incarceration rates, income and education. “Our country promises the opportunity of justice and equity, and it’s time for us to deliver on that promise,” Evers said in a statement. “We know we don’t have all of the answers — no one does. This legislation is a first step toward dismantling the systems we’ve created, but it can only be a first step. Racism and racialdisparities can’t be solved with any single bill or package of bills, or person — it’s on all of us, together.”
Why is it that local police departments, police associations and police unions continue to fight police reform and continue to blame their actions on others and not find any fault in themselves?
Something I found to be interesting when requesting records regarding Mt. Pleasants involvement in Kenosha was that there wasn’t a single video despite Mt. Pleasant having Dash Cam and Body Cams. When asking for documents surrounding their involvement with Kenosha I was informed that the records officer did not have access to the Chief of Police emails and had to obtain special permission to obtain these documents. Had I not been aware of emails sent between Chief Soens and Kenosha officials regarding a separate records request, these documents would have never been released. What’s interesting is the lack of emails with response from Chief Soens to anything sent to him. What else is sitting in his email account that the public hasn’t seen?
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