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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Tuesday, February 07, 2023

Paul Soglin balances perspectives in protest response

City officials were caught between competing ideals Tuesday, when a protest organized by Madison West and East High School students regarding Tony Robinson's death shut down traffic on East Washington Avenue for several hours.

The mayor, during a press conference Thursday, praised the Madison Police Department’s handling of the event, according to a statement from the mayor’s office.

The protest made it difficult to find the balance between allowing a protest to take place and ensuring that non-protesters’ everyday activity is not unduly impacted, according to Soglin's statement.

“The Madison Police Department has been very flexible, professional, and patient with protesters who are exercising their first amendment rights,” Soglin said in the release.

Soglin also supported citizens’ rights to civil disobedience.

“Resistance on the part of the individual arrested or on the part of another interfering with the arrest is contrary to the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.,” Soglin said in the release. Soglin argued the need for patience in the Madison community, as members continually strive to maintain a positive relationship between local law enforcement and the citizenry.

In a separate MPD incident report regarding the event, comments from spokespeople MPD Public Information Officer Joel DeSpain and Lt. Kelly Donahue echoed the mayor’s sentiments.

“The MPD is committed to working with citizens so they can exercise their First Amendment Rights, but the Department is also mindful that there must be a balance as others have the right to move freely about the city,” Lt. Kelly Donahue wrote in the statement.

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