Madison police arrest 15 after vandalism follows Sunday protests

Fires, property damage reported across Wisconsin Sunday night, but details scarce in aftermath

Police face off against protesters in downtown Madison on Sunday night. (Shawn Johnson / WPR)

Madison police arrested 15 people Sunday, May 31, amid a nationwide wave of protests following the alleged murder of a black man at the hands of Minneapolis police. In Green Bay, police are looking for the person they say fired multiple shots from a crowd of protesters into a closed gas station around 11 p.m. Sunday. Police and protesters in multiple cities reported injuries in the clashes.

The arrests came on the second night of protesters’ clashes with police and amid widespread looting and property damage across some of Wisconsin's largest cities.

According to a statement early Monday from interim Madison Police Chief Vic Wahl, damage started shortly before 10 p.m. following peaceful protests during the day. Wahl said one person arrested for looting had a handgun. He wrote that "multiple stores were looted" and "multiple fires were set" Sunday.

Details were scarce Monday morning about the number of arrests made in Wisconsin or the scope of damage done to property Sunday night, the second night of protests in cities across the state. Wahl said police had received 1,420 calls over the weekend. In a statement Monday on Twitter , the Madison Police Department said "several officers" were injured by rocks and other projectiles, including a Wausau police officer struck in the eye while riding a Madison Metro bus.

A speaker at a Madison rally held by Freedom Inc. on Monday afternoon said two protesters had been hit by a car in the clashes. She did not say whether they were injured. In addition to other cases, an intoxicated man reportedly shot himself in the leg near a downtown parking ramp early Monday morning.


As of Sunday afternoon, Milwaukee police had reportedly arrested more than 60 people involved in looting or property damage. In a Facebook post Sunday night, Milwaukee police said they were "actively arresting curfew violators."

As of late Monday morning, the Milwaukee Police Department had not released the number of arrests made Sunday night. A Milwaukee Police Department spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request from WPR.

At an afternoon press conference, Green Bay Police Chief Andrew Smith said clashes there started around 10:30 p.m. Sunday, and as crowds assembled near a Marathon gas station in the city, someone shot multiple times from the crowd into the building.

"That caused a panic," Smith said.

He said vandalism by small groups of mostly young people continued until about 3 a.m.

Smith said a handful of people were arrested or cited Sunday night. He said police are reviewing video footage from the protests and he expects more arrests to follow.

Green Bay Mayor Eric Genrich said "the citizens of Green Bay can expect a curfew" Monday night. The time has not been announced.

Property damage was also reported in Racine and Kenosha on Sunday night.


Images of fires, looting and the use of tear gas by police in riot gear followed peaceful protests during the day in Wisconsin cities and across the country. Protests and later looting first broke out Saturday night after protests spread over the death of George Floyd, a black man killed in Minneapolis after a police officer knelt on his back and neck for about nine minutes. The officer has been charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

Wisconsin Public Radio can be heard in the Twin Ports at 91.3 FM or online at .

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