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Madison protest leader arrested for allegedly taking sledgehammer to police memorial
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Madison protest leader arrested for allegedly taking sledgehammer to police memorial

Wisconsin Law Enforcement Memorial

Police say 25-year-old Jordan A. King, of Verona, struck the Wisconsin Law Enforcement Memorial with a sledgehammer early Tuesday morning.

A leader in the Black Lives Matter protests that have at times devolved into violence and destruction in Downtown Madison this spring and summer is facing felony charges after allegedly taking a sledgehammer to the Wisconsin Law Enforcement Memorial and causing other damage at and around the state Capitol early Tuesday.

Jordan A. King, 25, of Verona, is charged with criminal damage to property after striking the memorial at the corner of Pinckney and Mifflin streets 23 times, according to a criminal complaint. Police say he had a loaded handgun when arrested, and also faces a misdemeanor charge for not having a concealed-carry permit.

King has been active in the protests since they began on May 30 in the wake of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody on May 25. He was also a friend of 19-year-old Tony Robinson, who was shot and killed by Madison police Officer Matt Kenny in 2015 after the intoxicated and combative Robinson allegedly attacked Kenny in an apartment stairwell.

According to two complaints filed Wednesday:

Surveillance video shows King hitting the memorial just before 12:30 a.m., then moving on to smash lights on the Capitol grounds, at least one door to the Capitol and a window to Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes’ Capitol office. Barnes is Wisconsin’s first Black lieutenant governor and second Black person to hold statewide elective office.

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The Capitol building and grounds superintendent estimated the damage to the memorial at between $15,000 and $50,000. Gouges could be seen in several of the letters of the memorial Thursday afternoon. Damage to the lights and Capitol property totaled between $6,000 and $6,500, according to the superintendent.

King is also alleged to have been caught on video smashing windows at a West Mifflin Street restaurant that is not named in a complaint, causing an estimated $20,000 in damage.

Police say King fled across the Capitol lawn and changed his clothes in an attempt to evade arrest. In addition to the handgun, he had 40 rounds of ammunition and two bottles of whiskey in his backpack and brass knuckles in his pocket, police said. The sledgehammer was also recovered on the Capitol grounds, police said.

King’s supporters had raised more than $5,600 for him through an online fundraiser as of Thursday afternoon. He was released from jail Wednesday on a signature bond with conditions banning him from areas of Capitol Square and State and Langdon streets and prohibiting him from possessing any dangerous weapon.

Wisconsin Law Enforcement Memorial damage

The Wisconsin Law Enforcement Memorial sustained from $15,000 to $50,000 in damage, according to the state Capitol building and grounds superintendent.


Keeping track: Over 20 people facing felony charges in vandalism, looting, violence during protests

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