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Law enforcement groups send critical letter to governor over Jacob Blake shooting comments

Published: Aug. 27, 2020 at 3:44 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 27, 2020 at 9:25 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WBAY) - Members of the major Wisconsin police and sheriff groups sent a letter to Gov. Tony Evers and Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, asking them to refrain from making more statements about the police shooting of Jacob Blake until more details are known.

The letter says in part, “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” (read the complete letter below).

They are critical of a statement from the governor and lieutenant governor Sunday night about the shooting of Jacob Blake which focused heavily on Blake’s race and the use of deadly force by police.

“That was gasoline put on a fire that we were sending our deputies and officers into that was erupting,” said Green Lake County Sheriff Mark Podoll, who signed the letter in his capacity as president of the Wisconsin Badger State Sheriff’s Association.

The letter went out following a meeting between Gov. Evers and law enforcement leaders on Wednesday which the sheriff says didn’t produce the outcome many wearing the badge were hoping for.

“Everybody looks at law enforcement as the issue, OK, and we all see the tape, it doesn’t look very good, but the facts will come out,” Podoll said.

Fond du Lac Police Chief Bill Lamb was another one of the law enforcement leaders to sign the letter. He says comments should wait until after the investigation is finished, and government leaders who make statements of opinion right now put lives at risk.

“The comments being made by elected officials in advance without the facts that are so judgmental and inflammatory -- again, without the facts -- is severely adding gas to an already dangerous situation,” Lamb said.

“These are not peaceful protests. There have already been a couple of deaths and injuries,” Lamb continued, “and continuing to make those types of remarks in advance of having the full set of facts, are putting the lives of, well, the public in general but also the law enforcement officers, the National Guard, anybody that’s involved with this thing.”

An Illinois teen whose social media posts support Blue Lives Matter, Kyle Rittenhouse, is in custody for the two shooting deaths during protests Tuesday night (see related story).

Several area law enforcement agencies are distributing the letter through their social media.

“Protests are OK, but riots are not,” Podoll said.

The governor’s office did not respond to our request for comment at the time of this writing.

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.

Respectfully,

Sheriff Mark Podoll, President, Wisconsin Badger State Sheriff’s Association

Chief Kenneth Pileggi, President, Wisconsin Chiefs of Police Association

Chief Deputy Jeff Spencer, President, Wisconsin Sheriff’s and Deputy Sheriff’s Association

Chief William Lamb, President, Wisconsin Police Executive Group


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