MADISON, Wis. – Almost a dozen alders from the city of Madison have written a letter to officials with the town of Madison expressing their “sadness” and “disappointment” over the hiring of a former police chief connected to a controversial YouTube video.
“It is extremely disheartening to learn that the Town of Madison will make such an insensitive move by hiring Mr. Furseth especially during a climate fraught with divisiveness and distrust of trust of law enforcement, particularly among people of color. The hiring of Daniel Furseth undermines our shared values of developing trust and good governance with our municipalities,” the alders wrote.
Furseth, the former police chief of DeForest, started as a part-time officer with the Town of Madison Police Department on Oct. 1, according to the department’s chief, Scott Gregory.
An 11-year-old video of Furseth making racist comments about a group of black men surfaced on YouTube in May, leading to Furseth being placed on administrative leave. He resigned from the village of DeForest in August and applied to the Town of Madison Police Department around the same time.
The letter from the Common Council president, vice president and nine other alders also mentioned the statement the Dane County Chiefs of Police Association, of which Gregory is the president, made about Furseth in August, saying, “We condemn racism in any form.”
The alders said hiring Furseth “serves to do the exact opposite of what Chief Gregory stated that he and the Association would do.”
Gregory told News 3 that “without question,” Furseth is remorseful for his actions. He also said Furseth deserves a second chance.
The alders also said Furseth “deserves a second chance” but they said it should not be in law enforcement, especially with the town of Madison, which will soon be annexed into the city.
“It is our belief that insensitivity to people of color disqualifies him to hold the position of law enforcement officer,” the alders said.
Madison alders addressed the letter to Gregory, town of Madison board Chair Jim Campbell and the town’s police and fire commission Chair Brende Hofer. They asked the commission to “take a second look” at the decision to hire Furseth and rescind the offer immediately.