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Wisconsin Rep Denounces Protest As ‘Exercise In White Privilege,’ Later Claimed She Got Death Threats
People hold signs during a protest against the coronavirus shutdown in front of State Capitol in Madison, Wisconsin, on April 24, 2020.
Photo by Kamil Krzaczynski/AFP via Getty Images

On Friday, Wisconsin  state Senator State Rep. LaKeshia Myers issued a statement accusing the anti “Safer-at-Home” rally on Friday that drew roughly 1,500 people of being an “exercise in white privilege,” arguing there were “no mass arrests or municipal citations issued for this non-essential gathering.”

WISN reported that on Saturday Myers claimed she had received death threats and people had published her home address after her statement was released. Her Saturday statement read, “While I have alerted the proper authorities, I remain steadfast in my thought that we need continued compliance and equity in enforcement with the governor’s ‘Safer at Home’ order.”

The statement Myers had previously released regarding “white privilege” read:

The rally held at the Wisconsin State Capitol (Friday) by individuals protesting the governor’s ‘Safer at Home’ order was clearly an exercise in white privilege. Even though a permit was denied and the capitol building was closed to the public, protesters openly defied the governor’s directive by gathering en masse on the capitol grounds while waving confederate flags and carrying military grade assault rifles. While some of the individuals participating were Wisconsinites there are also many who have traveled from out of state to participate in this deleterious display of demagoguery. In many municipalities across Wisconsin people who break the ‘Safer at home’ order can be fined, with the maximum penalty being jail time.

Why then, has Wisconsin Capitol Police failed to act?  Why have there been no mass arrests or municipal citations issued for this non-essential gathering? In order for us to move past this pandemic and to truly flatten the curve we need compliance from the public. In any other situation, willful non-compliance with the law is met with the full force of law enforcement, yet when the protestors are predominantly white and male defiance is rewarded with inaction and complacency. If we expect to recover from this pandemic, with the fewest casualties possible, immediate action needs to be taken. I urge Governor Tony Evers to use the law enforcement mechanisms at his disposal and to ensure that protestors at the Capitol are given citations and effective law and order is restored.

Myers later doubled down on her initial statement, asserting, “While there were people of color present at the rally, the overwhelming majority of those present were white. It is not lost on me that the response likely would have been very different had the majority of protesters been people of color. This is not speculative but based on historical facts … As an American, I wholeheartedly believe in our Bill of Rights. I also understand it is necessary to temporarily cede certain freedoms for the common good and public health is most definitely a common good.”

Bob Tarantino, one of the organizers of the protest, stated, “We want Governor Evers to open up all businesses in the state immediately before everybody goes out of business,” as The New York Times reported.

Last week, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald filed a lawsuit challenging the extension Evers put in place until May 26. Vos stated, “There’s no Republican that I know that isn’t taking the virus seriously. There’s no Republican that I know that thinks we should just go back to normal tomorrow. We need to have a gradual rollout,” as The Washington Post reported.

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