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More than 80 threats made against Walker, lawmakers and others, records show

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« on: May 13, 2011, 01:12:28 pm »

More than 80 threats made against Walker, lawmakers and others, records show

More than 80 threats made against Walker, lawmakers and others, records show
DEE J. HALL | dhall@madison.com | 608-252-6132 madison.com | (66) Comments | Posted: Friday, May 13, 2011 2:45 am

http://pictopia.com/perl/ptp/madison?photo_name=884e3352-7cf4-11e0-98ed-001cc4c03286&title=Tight security at Capitol&t_url=http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/host.madison.com/content/tncms/assets/editorial/c/5a/81d/c5a81ddc-4534-11e0-a43b-001cc4c03286-revisions/4d6eed79a7989.image.jpg&fs_url=http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/host.madison.com/content/tncms/assets/editorial/c/5a/81d/c5a81ddc-4534-11e0-a43b-001cc4c03286-revisions/4d6eed79ad748.hires.jpg&pps=buynow http://pictopia.com/perl/ptp/madison?photo_name=884e3352-7cf4-11e0-98ed-001cc4c03286&title=Tight security at Capitol&t_url=http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/host.madison.com/content/tncms/assets/editorial/c/5a/81d/c5a81ddc-4534-11e0-a43b-001cc4c03286-revisions/4d6eed79a7989.image.jpg&fs_url=http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/host.madison.com/content/tncms/assets/editorial/c/5a/81d/c5a81ddc-4534-11e0-a43b-001cc4c03286-revisions/4d6eed79ad748.hires.jpg&pps=buynowProtesters, left, who got inside the state Capitol on March 1 were restricted to the ground floor while Gov. Scott Walker delivered his state budget address on the second floor in the Assembly chambers. CRAIG SCHREINER - State Journal
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Authorities have investigated 89 threat cases against lawmakers of both parties, Gov. Scott Walker and others after the governor introduced his controversial anti-collective bargaining bill in February and Democratic senators fled the state to avoid voting on it, according to Department of Justice records released Thursday.
The records cover 78 closed cases reviewed by the agency’s Division of Criminal Investigation between Feb. 19 and March 25, including one by a Department of Corrections employee who was arrested for disorderly conduct for allegedly making a verbal threat to shoot Walker. DOC spokeswoman Linda Eggert confirmed that the man, Jeffrey Renock, 37, is a correctional officer at the Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility and made the purported threat while at work.
“This particular incident was investigated internally, and appropriate action was taken,” Eggert said, declining to offer further details.
Not included in the 128 pages of documents were records of 11 investigations that are still under way.
The 78 cases were closed after agents determined that no further investigation was needed, the threats of violence were unlikely to be carried out or the perpetrator could not be identified. Nearly all were related to Walker’s bill that stripped most collective bargaining rights from 175,000 public sector employees, sparking weeks of protests at the Capitol, and the exodus of 14 Democratic senators to Illinois.
The threats came primarily by email but also by letter, phone, verbally and via Twitter, Facebook and Craigslist from people living in Wisconsin and as far away as Maine, Florida, Nebraska and California. One tweet said the writer wanted an anvil to fall on the governor’s head.
The suspects ranged from a man described as “dangerous” who was arrested by federal agents in March for threatening several public officials in Maine to hapless drunks who said they were angry but had no plans to hurt anyone. A surprising number of the threats were signed, although some used fake names.
The documents don’t reveal the intended targets or the suspects in any of the 11 ongoing investigations except for Katherine Windels of Cross Plains, who was charged March 31 in Dane County Circuit Court with sending emails threatening 15 Republican senators and their families. She faces two felony bomb scare counts and two misdemeanor counts of sending a computer message threatening injury or harm. The 26-year-old day care worker told investigators she had no plans to carry out her threats.
Another closed case involved a letter threatening to harm Walker sent by a person arrested in March by federal agents after he allegedly sent threats to Republican U.S. Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine and Maine’s GOP governor, Paul LePage. News reports identify the suspect as Michael Thomas, 50, of Portland, Maine.
The 78 closed cases involve:
• 15 threats against Walker.
• 30 threats targeting Democratic senators.
• 12 threats against Republican senators and state representatives, including a one-line email sent to all 56 GOP Assembly members.
• 21 threats targeting Capitol protesters, police, the Tea Party, Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz, Dane County Board Chairman Scott McDonell and others.
The threats ranged from this message sent to some Democratic senators — “Take a gun to your head you union oned (sic) marxist piece of (expletive)!” — to a lengthy screed against Walker that begins “I DARE YOU WHITE CHRISTIAN FBI TRANSVESTITE SCUM TO ARREST ME.” Most of the threats are rife with misspellings, bad grammar and foul language.
In one of the closed cases, a Fond du Lac police official reported that on March 1, a man called the department’s dispatch center to say he had just phoned in a threat to the governor.
“Non-credible threat to kill Gov. Walker,” Fond du Lac Chief Deputy Kevin Lemke reported. “Our detectives will make contact with the suspect after he sobers up to verify that he is a non-threat.”
One investigation focused on a Facebook conversation between two people who said they wished the governor were dead. Agents interviewed the subjects and “senders related that they were upset that their tuition will be increased and that their parents were public workers.”
A Peshtigo School District employee acknowledged emailing a threat to state Rep. John Nygren, R-Marinette. Investigators said the man “admitted to sending the email. Stated that he was intoxicated and upset because he may lose his house if the bill is passed into law. Said he never intended to physically harm Rep. Nygren ... .”
Sen. Jon Erpenbach, D-Middleton, received at least 14 threats investigated by agents, nearly as many as Walker. Erpenbach said he never felt in danger, but he was concerned for his children and staff. He said he believes the threats do not justify the security crackdown at the Capitol, including locked entrances and metal detectors.
“This isn’t the first time we’ve been threatened,” Erpenbach said, “and it’s not the last.”
Copyright 2011 madison.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
 
Posted in Govt-and-politics on Friday, May 13, 2011 2:45 am Updated: 6:14 am. Scott Walker, Scott Walker Budget, Jon Erpenbach, John Nygren, Katherine Windels, Linda Eggert, Jeffrey Renock, Collective Bargaining, Wisconsin Department Of Justice
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