Policing protests; COVID-19 skeptics; maskless democracy; hospital violence; Foxconn woes
Of note: This week we highlight a story by Clara Neupert, a Wisconsin Watch reporting fellow. She investigates best practices for keeping protests peaceful following a summer in which several Wisconsin cities — including Kenosha, Madison, Milwaukee and Wauwatosa — saw police don body armor and fire crowd control weapons during protests that, at times, turned destructive.
Neupert profiles David Couper, Madison’s police chief from 1972 to 1993. Couper’s philosophy of respecting free speech and assembly offered a blueprint for police to ditch militarized crowd control tactics that, decades of research shows, more often escalate violence rather than prevent it. She reports on a debate in Madison about whether police are still practicing Couper’s philosophy, and she examines how crowds assembling in Kenosha responded to aggressive policing following the police shooting of Jacob Blake in August.
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Aggressive policing escalates violence at protests, research shows. A former Madison police chief touts a better way.
Wisconsin Watch – December 9, 2020
David Couper, Madison’s police chief from 1972 to 1993, says law enforcement should ditch the riot gear and tear gas to keep the peace.
Wisconsin Watch – December 8, 2020
Some Wisconsinites continue to downplay the severity of COVID-19, spurning masks and vaccinations and inhibiting efforts to contain the pandemic. Skeptics interviewed by Wisconsin Watch include people who embrace the increasingly popular QAnon conspiracy theory, are generally suspicious of vaccinations, consume nontraditional medical advice and value personal freedom above what they believe are exaggerated public health considerations. They also acknowledge that their beliefs have put them crossways at work and with family.
Wisconsin State Journal – December 6, 2020
Spotty internet connectivity in parts of rural southwest Wisconsin can make online meetings impossible. And local resistance to the mask order combined with doubts about their effectiveness to stem the spread of the coronavirus means some residents are risking their health just to see what their government officials are up to — a burden one expert said likely violates the state’s open meetings law.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel – December 10, 2020
Across the nation, hospital violence has been a quiet, growing epidemic. While hospitals have hailed nurses and other medical staff as heroes of the pandemic, for decades they have left them vulnerable to abuse and assaults. Health care workers are at five times greater risk of being injured by violence than employees in any other private sector industry. Yet as hospitals reap record profits — many sitting on billions in cash reserves and spending proceeds on acquisitions and expansions — facilities across the country have failed to adequately address the violence plaguing the industry’s employees, an investigation by the Journal Sentinel has found.
The Guardian – December 8, 2020
When Sean McFarlane recently returned to the site where his lifelong home was demolished, he found in its place a retention pond and hundreds of geese perched on a hill. The quiet scene came as a shock. The Wisconsin village of Mount Pleasant had effectively forced him, his girlfriend and four children from their home in 2017 to make way for a proposed high-tech plant owned by the Taiwanese electronics giant Foxconn — a plant Donald Trump had said would soon be the “Eighth Wonder of the World”. Three years later, the factory for which the family went through hell hasn’t been built.
Read more from Wisconsin Watch and WPR, which last year investigated complaints from residents who sold their homes for road widenings that were either abandoned, embellished — or never planned.