Police, professors, and political party leaders weigh in on Capitol riots

Published: Jan. 6, 2021 at 10:44 PM CST
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - While many people took to social media to react to the riots that broke out at the Nation’s Capitol, Green Bay police were also keeping watch locally.

“The images we’re seeing on television and on social media, very disturbing, obviously that’s not ok,” said Police Chief Andrew Smith. “We always try to keep our attention focused on what’s going on across the country so we can see if anything is going to happen here in Green Bay.”

Aside from a rally of President Trump supporters at City Hall Wednesday afternoon, all was quiet in Green Bay. Chief Smith was at the afternoon gathering and said attendees were peaceful and respectful.

As a former police officer for the Los Angeles Police Department, Chief Smith is no stranger to riots like the one documented in Washington D.C. Wednesday.

He experienced the 1992 Riots sparked by the police beating of Rodney King.

“In situations like that, my philosophy has been to have enough officers so you can start making arrests immediately. Nothing stops a riot situation or an unlawful activity like people seeing their peers that are breaking the law go to jail,” said Chief Smith.

Meanwhile, political science professors watching the events unfold in Washington D.C. say to pay attention to moments like this in our nation’s history.

“Don’t look away from things like this,” said Nolan Bennett, assistant professor of democracy and justice studies at UW-Green Bay. “There’s a tenancy especially with American politics today, to be so overwhelmed and overloaded by what’s going on; especially when we, more than ever, have crises and tragedies that are personal to us. I think this is the kind of thing you need to watch and be a participant in as best you can.”

Both Republican and Democratic Parties of Brown County also reacted to the deadly violence that unfolded at the Capitol.

“While we don’t condone the violence that we’re seeing play out in Washington, there is a great passion regarding the integrity of the ballot box and we should allow the constitutional process to play out,” said James Fitzgerald, Chair of the Republican Party of Brown County.

“We’re very concerned about what is going to happen in the next two weeks. We want to see everyone in our community unite to condemn the violence that has taken place today,” said Renee Gasch, Chair of the Democratic Party of Brown County. “We need every single person to stand up and say this is not acceptable.”

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