Vandals graffitied and set fire to the inside of Wisconsin Family Action — a Madison anti-abortion group — headquarters early Sunday morning.
Police responded to a call from a person who noticed smoke rising from the building. Later that morning, two staff members returned to the building, where they found shattered glass and burnt books inside the corner office.
“Flames were seen coming from the facility shortly after 6 a.m. The fire was quickly put out by the Madison Fire Department,” the Madison Police Department incident report stated.
They also noted that arson investigators are working with the Madison Fire Department to determine the exact cause of the incident. The Madison Police Department confirmed that no one was injured in the attack.
According to police, at least one Molotov cocktail was thrown into the building, but did not ignite. A separate fire appeared to start in response.
Julian Appling, the president of Wisconsin Family Action, released a statement in response to the attack.
“But this attack fails to frighten us and instead steels the resolve of law-abiding, common-sense, everyday folks to stand up and push back,” Appling stated. “We know today it is Wisconsin Family Action getting Molotov cocktails tossed through broken windows and fires ignited, but tomorrow it could be anyone in our state or another state who is attacked because we disagree with a policy or action, give voice to the voiceless or stand up for what’s right.”
Madison Police Chief Shon Barnes explained which steps are being taken to investigate the vandalism.
“We have made our federal partners aware of this incident and are working with them and the Madison Fire Department as we investigate this arson,” Barnes said in a statement. “We will provide an update on this case Monday at 2 p.m. Specific details regarding the logistics of this update will be sent at a later time.”
The building was vandalized with graffiti, including the phrase “If abortions aren’t safe, neither are you” and an anti-police tag.
Gov. Tony Evers responded to the incident on Twitter Sunday afternoon.
“We condemn violence and hatred in all forms, including the actions at Wisconsin Family Action in Madison last night,” Evers stated. “We reject violence against any person for disagreeing with another’s view. Violence is not the way forward. Hurting others is never the answer.”
The Madison Police Department continues to investigate the incident and will update the public with new developments Monday.
Ellie Bourdo is the features editor for The Daily Cardinal. Ellie previously served as associate news editor, where she specialized in breaking news and University of Wisconsin-System news reporting. She also works at WisPolitics. Follow Ellie on Twitter at @elliebourdo.