Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway sparked a sharp rebuke from city residents after an internal video message to the Madison Police Department was leaked by a pro-law enforcement blog. In the video, Rhodes-Conway gave a deeply empathetic message of support to police officers after days of protest included rioting and looting on State Street.
Members of the National Guard joined police officers from Madison and surrounding counties to quell the protests with pepper spray, tear gas, and projectile weapons. Some of the Mayor’s critics pointed out that the Mayor’s private message to police was a stark betrayal of the LGBTQ+ community members who joined the protests that were an effort to unify against systemic abuses by law enforcement against communities of color in the wake of a Minneapolis Police officer’s murder of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man.
Mayor Rhodes-Conway has since apologized for the video message to police, but criticisms from the public continued in the following week’s City Council meeting where people expressed a lack of confidence that the Mayor could work objectively with the police department.