Madison Common Council president Sheri Carter, along with Alder Paul Skidmore, has proposed a resolution “condemning the use of violence and destruction in any form and for any reason,” apparently aimed at condemning damage to property by protesters. The resolution also mentions gun violence.
Carter filed the resolution just yesterday and placed it on the agenda for tonight’s Common Council meeting, circumventing the normal committee process.
The text of the resolution acknowledges the right under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution to assemble and protest, but says “these privileges under the First Amendment comes (sic) with accountability of actions, reactions, activities, while assemblage is occurring and; violent actions for any reason destroys the lives of our residents, employees, especially employees in the service industries, and visitors…”
The resolution also says, in the next clause, “we acknowledge that violence begets violence and gun violence has spread across our city and nation at rate that has shaken the safety of our city.”
The resolution resolves “that the Mayor and City Council of Madison, Wisconsin demand the end of the use of violence of any form, and for any reason, and supports all agencies working together on this effort” and calls upon “public safety agencies to protect all residents, all genders, peaceful protesters, from any form of violence, for any reason, and to protect when call upon (sic) any violence directed towards visitors, businesses, public worker, or public officials in the City of Madison.” It pledges to end violence in the city by 2030, without offering any specific policies to do so.
Neither Carter nor Skidmore responded to requests for comment.
Brandi Grayson, who is running against Carter in the spring election, noted that the resolution seems focused on protesters but not the issues they’re protesting.
“This resolution does not condemn violence by police. It does not condemn violence of homelessness. It does not condemn violence of rape culture. It doesn’t condemn violence in all the ways that is perpetrated against people’s bodies,” Grayson said in an interview Tuesday. She said it upholds “this narrative of property over people, which is rooted in racism.”
Grayson also noted that the Council President has special privilege to add items to meeting agendas, which she views as “utilizing Madison Common Council to push their own personal campaigns.”
Nikki Conklin, who is running to unseat Skidmore, said the resolution just doesn’t do much.
“In order to eradicate violence/gun violence we have to get to the root of the problem,” she said in a message to Madison365. “We must fund programs and institutions that are centered around the community’s health and safety. Gun violence is a public health issue. We must invest in more community-based programs like Focus Interruption Coalition. They are working on the front lines to interrupt violence in our community.”
“Our issue with the resolution is the hypocrisy intrinsic to it,” said Alec Esther of the organization Reshaping Madison Together. “If Skidmore is against violence, why did he call a constituent a (misogynist slur) during a Common Council meeting? Why does he oppose banning tear gas? Why does he support funding already militarized institutions like the Madison Police Department? You cannot be ‘against violence’ and yet sustain violence against your own community.”
Skidmore has been accused of referring to a constituent with a slur during a virtual meeting in September, but has denied that the voice was his.
The Madison City Clerk’s office said four citizens had registered in opposition to the resolution.
Also on the agenda tonight is the presentation of a report from the Madison Police Department on its use of tear gas, which the Council will use to determine whether to regulate or ban its use.