A 28-year-old Sun Prairie man was beaten and robbed by a small group of protesters while trying to drive around a Downtown demonstration Tuesday evening.
Mike — the driver, who agreed to speak with the State Journal about the incident on the condition of only using his first name for fear of retaliation from those who attacked him — was hospitalized after protesters punched him and kicked him while he was laying on the ground in a ball. His injuries were not life-threatening.
He said one of the most frustrating parts of the incident is that he himself is Black and supports protesters' cause. He said he's been racially profiled by police before.
"I couldn't be more supportive of protests and peaceful protests, but this is something else entirely," Mike said.
He was trying to pick up his girlfriend from a local hospital when he came upon protesters at the intersection of Williamson Street and John Nolen Drive.
Mike said he was trying to go through a gap in the barrier when a protester threw a bike at the bottom of his front bumper.
But to some of those on the ground, it seemed like Mike had rammed his car into the bike, prompting anger from protesters. He said he did not hit anyone with his car, and would never do that.
"There does not exist a planet where I would intentionally do something like that," he said.
Mike then got out of his car with his fists raised toward protesters. He acknowledged that was a "super duper bad idea."
"Should I have been there? No," Mike said. "Should I have gotten out of my car? Absolutely not."
Some individuals smashed the windows of his car, while a handful of others went after him and started beating him "into the ground."
Protesters yelled at those beating him up to stop, saying, "That's enough." They called for a medic to come and help, but Mike got up and drove away in his car.
Some protesters said “that’s enough” and called over a medic to help the man.— Emily Hamer (@ehamer7) June 24, 2020
He’s seen yelling as protesters leave in this video. Seems physically OK, but not sure. He drove away before I could get his name. Car was a blue Mini Cooper. pic.twitter.com/XFFwR3K6mA
Mike said he has cuts on his hands, arms and upper lip. He also took "quite a few" blows to his head. He said there is swelling on several spots of his head and his jaw.
In the scuffle, someone stole his wallet and phone, Mike and Madison police said.
Madison police are asking for anyone with information on the incident to call Madison Area Crime Stoppers at (608) 266-6014.
Mike said even after the incident, he has no ill will toward the movement because "Black lives do matter."
"I'm by no means against Black Lives Matter," he said. "I definitely am against being beaten and robbed and having my car destroyed."
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