Two Women Charged in Attack on Wisconsin State Senator

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Two women were arrested and accused of beating a state senator who had been recording video of protesters last month during a night of intensifying violence in Madison, Wis., the authorities said.

The senator, Tim Carpenter, a Democrat who represents areas in Milwaukee, said on June 24 that he was punched and kicked in the head after he took a cellphone video of protesters who had been marching through downtown Madison for several hours to protest police violence and racism.

He was treated in the hospital for injuries to his head, neck and ribs.

On Monday, after the Madison Police Department released surveillance images of two women it described as persons of interest, the police said the women, Samantha R. Hamer, 26, and Kerida E. O’Reilly, 33, turned themselves in.

Both women face charges of battery and robbery, the police said. They were being held on those charges in a Dane County jail, inmate records showed on Wednesday. It was not immediately clear whether they had lawyers.

Their initial court appearance in Dane County Circuit Court was scheduled for Wednesday.

Ms. Hamer was put on administrative leave from her job as a social worker for the Mount Horeb School District in suburban Madison, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. Ms. O’Reilly is a licensed physical therapist in Madison, the newspaper reported.

Mr. Carpenter was assaulted just after midnight on June 24 during demonstrations in the city protesting police violence against Black people in the wake of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis in police custody, in May.

The state senator posted his video of the incident on Twitter in the hours after it took place. As he records a line of demonstrators on a street, the video shows, two women break away from the group and run toward him. “Leave my phone alone,” he says. “Delete it,” one woman replies. Then the recording goes dark.

In their announcement last month about the attack, the police said the senator was walking to the State Capitol around midnight when three people from a group of demonstrators rushed toward him. One knocked his phone out of his hand, and he was “sucker punched,” the department said.

“He fell to the ground and was battered by several people,” the police said. “A media member, who witnessed the assault, told police approximately 10 people punched and kicked the politician while he was on the ground and as the politician tried to explain that he is an ally.”

Mr. Carpenter did not reply to a request for comment early on Wednesday.

There had been protests in Madison for weeks, alongside those across the United States after Mr. Floyd’s death. But on the night that Mr. Carpenter was assaulted, the tenor of the marches had intensified after the arrest of a Black activist, identified as Devonere A. Johnson, 28, at a restaurant near the Capitol. Video of that arrest shows officers pulling Mr. Johnson by the legs and carrying his body to force him into a police car.

On July 8, Mr. Johnson was indicted on federal extortion charges and accused of threatening to destroy a business unless it paid him, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Western District of Wisconsin said. Prosecutors also accused Mr. Johnson of threatening another business unless he and “his associates were provided free food and beverages.”

A lawyer listed for Mr. Johnson on court records could not be reached on Wednesday.

The mayor of Madison, Satya Rhodes-Conway, has described the flare-up of violence the night of Mr. Carpenter’s assault as “far from the peaceful protests” the city had seen on previous nights. “The behaviors we saw were incredibly dangerous and intolerable — putting people’s lives at risk,” she said in a statement last month.

She said people were pulled out of cars. Some protesters tried to set fire to a building with dozens of people inside, used vehicles to push through crowds, or tossed firebombs, the mayor said.

Protesters also toppled two statues: one of a 19th-century abolitionist, Hans Christian Heg, and another of the “Forward” figure, an allegorical work meant to embody the state’s motto.

But mentioning Mr. Johnson’s arrest, the mayor also added, “I recognize that we need better options to de-escalate situations and offer restorative justice in our community. “

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