Electoral insurrection; policing double standard; no charges in Blake shooting; COVID-19 and caucusing; academic slide


Of note: Today we highlight coverage of the failed effort by President Donald Trump and his supporters to subvert the will of Americans who picked Joe Biden as his successor — through a parliamentary effort to delay Congress’ election certification and a violent mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol during those proceedings on Wednesday. 

U.S. House Republicans Tom Tiffany and Scott Fitzgerald of Wisconsin were among the few lawmakers who voted to overturn election results in Arizona and Pennsylvania — and they would have challenged Wisconsin’s results if given the chance, Craig Gilbert and Bill Glauber report for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. 

Meanwhile, Wisconsin racial justice advocates and law enforcement experts noticed a lax police response to the mostly white insurgents that damaged the U.S. Capitol — in stark contrast to how Black Lives Matter protesters were treated in Kenosha, Milwaukee and Wauwatosa last year, Sophie Carson and Bruce Vielmetti report for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

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U.S. Reps. Scott Fitzgerald, left, and Tom Tiffany, right. Credit: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Files

Tom Tiffany, Scott Fitzgerald say they would have rejected Biden’s victory in Wisconsin had there been a vote in Congress

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel — January 6, 2021 

Wisconsin’s two newest congressmen, Republicans Tom Tiffany and Scott Fitzgerald, were the state’s only lawmakers to vote this week to overturn Joe Biden’s presidential victory in the key swing states of Arizona and Pennsylvania. And Fitzgerald and Tiffany both said in interviews Thursday they would have voted to overturn Biden’s victory in Wisconsin as well, had it been subject to a vote.

See related coverage from Wisconsin Watch: Wisconsin GOP official bucks Trump and draws backlash: ‘There is no fraud in this election’

Police arrest Paul Soglin on Mifflin Street in Madison, Wis., in May 1969. The protest of the Vietnam War erupted into a weekend of unrest that injured dozens after officers in riot gear arrested people for minor infractions while responding to a noise complaint. Credit: The Cap Times

Recalling tear gas, arrests at Wisconsin protests, local leaders denounce policing ‘double standard’ at U.S. Capitol riots

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel — January 7, 2021

In the riots and destruction at the U.S. Capitol this week, Wisconsin law enforcement experts and community activists saw a troubling lack of preparation and a clear double standard in how police treat protesters. The contrast is stark, activists and leaders say, between the mass arrests and rounds of tear gas police fired on Black Lives Matter protesters in Milwaukee, Wauwatosa and Kenosha over the summer and the seemingly lax approach from Capitol Police to an angry mob of supporters of President Donald Trump.


Read more from Wisconsin Watch: Aggressive policing escalates violence at protests, research shows. A former Madison police chief touts a better way.

Residents of the town of Hudson caucused at Hudson High School in Hudson, Wis., on Monday, Jan. 4, 2020. Two town residents unsuccessfully sought to force the town to allow residents to attend the event virtually in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The unique structure of January caucuses raises questions about balancing inclusion and transparency with safety concerns. Credit: Tim Gruber for Wisconsin Watch

Wisconsin caucuses pose thorny safety issues during pandemic

Wisconsin Watch — January, 7, 2021

Some towns and villages require residents to choose local candidates in January gatherings. Do these caucuses violate disability and voting rights during a pandemic when public health experts are urging people to stay home? 

Matthias and Adara Millar play piano at their home in Blue Mounds, Wis., on Dec. 20, 2020. The Millar children have been attending school in the Barneveld School District virtually for much of the semester. Their dad, Matt Millar, says it’s been difficult to manage and monitor their schooling while also working from home. Recently, all of the Millar children returned to in-person instruction. Credit: Coburn Dukehart / Wisconsin Watch

As semester ends in Wisconsin, COVID-19 fears shrink — while concerns of academic slide grow

Wisconsin Watch — January 6, 2021

As the first full semester of U.S. students learning under the pandemic comes to a close, experts are particularly concerned about young people who already were behind. Only 15% of parents surveyed in Wisconsin said their children were learning as much as before the COVID-19 crisis. Some policymakers are pushing for a massive tutoring effort to help students catch up.

Read more: This piece is part of a collaborative reporting project called Lesson Plans: Rural schools grapple with COVID-19. Read the full series here. 

Activists seek laws after officer cleared in Blake shooting

Associated Press — January, 7, 2021

A Wisconsin prosecutor’s decision not to bring charges against the officer who shot Jacob Blake in the back came as little surprise to some activists for racial justice, who predict laws must change before police are truly held accountable for using force against Black men. After the Aug. 23 shooting that left Blake paralyzed, the decision on whether to charge Rusten Sheskey came down to a familiar question: Was the Kenosha officer justified in using force to protect himself? Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Graveley said Tuesday that he was. Graveley said he couldn’t disprove Sheskey’s contention that he feared Blake would stab him as he tried to stop Blake from driving away with three children in an SUV.

Read more: The Wisconsin Department of Justice released files from the investigation into Blake’s shooting, which you can find here

Wisconsin Watch

The byline "Wisconsin Watch" represents members of the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism's editorial and public engagement and marketing staff.