Dept. of Justice releases documented threats to lawmakers - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Dept. of Justice releases documented threats to lawmakers


MADISON (WKOW) -- Public documents released by the Department of Justice detail the vulgar and angry threats made toward state lawmakers and Governor Scott Walker throughout the battle over collective bargaining.

27 News requested and obtained nearly a 150 pages of documents regarding threats made to state lawmakers. The messages use vulgar language and suggest death threats against legislators on both sides of the aisle and Governor Scott Walker.

The records released Thursday show the deep hatred across the state and even across the country for lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, says, "Nothing even compares (to other years), not even close to what's happening since January, not even close."

Senator Fitzgerald says over the course of the collective bargaining battle he's received hundreds of threats including a threatening voicemail left on February 25, 2011.

The voicemail says, "What the **** is wrong with you boy. Get your head out of your ***. Go buy Walker some more soap to wipe his *** so you can kiss it."

The caller goes on to tell Senator Fitzgerald to hang himself. It says, "What you ought to do is find a nice tall tree and a branch and hang yourself, have a real nice day."

The 150 pages released by the Department of Justice reveal threats over email, Facebook messages and phone calls.

Capitol Police Chief Charles Tubbs says, "The threats have come in and been both male/female democrats republicans, so there's no pattern directed toward any one particular person."

Multiple death threats on Twitter target Governor Scott Walker. The tweets say, "Scott Walker must die" and, "I hope Scott Walker gets shot or tortured."

One email sent to the 14 senate Democrats says, "We hope the missing dems get killed in a terrible accident." Other messages warn lawmakers and their families that, "We know where you live". Other threats suggest they should be shot and to, "Keep one eye open when you sleep."

The threats released to 27 News have been deemed closed cases but Chief Tubbs says they take every threat seriously and still have several ongoing investigations taking place.

Chief Tubbs says, "We are working in cooperation with local and even federal law enforcement to bring about a resolution in these particular cases."

Senator Fitzgerald tells 27 News that in one respect he feels the Capitol is more dangerous now that things have died down. He says legislators are now freely moving about the Capitol and outside on the square.

He says he's had at least three instances of people following him and even an incident Wednesday he says someone approached him in the Senate chamber.

Records show 90 complaints about potential threats or harassment were forwarded to law enforcement from Feb. 16 to March 25. Of those, a dozen are still under investigation for possible criminal behavior.

The others included 29 reported threats or harassment against Democrats and 26 against Governor Walker or other Republicans.

The remaining complaints were either informational, vague threats against other officials and protesters or were unrelated to the Capitol protests. All of those complaints were closed after it was determined the individuals posed no significant threat.


MADISON (WKOW) -- The Department of Justice has released nearly 150 pages regarding threats made to lawmakers.

The documents show threats toward legislators and Gov. Scott Walker, starting February 16, at the height of the battle over collective bargaining.The messages -- in the form of emails, Tweets and voicemails -- use vulgar language and threaten lawmakers and their families to watch their back and some suggested they should be shot.

Capitol police tell 27 News the volume of threats that have come in since February is unprecedented.

Senate majority leader Scott Fitzgerald tells 27 News, since February, he personally has received hundreds of threats in emails, phone messages and face to face encounters.

The majority of threats released to 27 News have been deemed closed cases. The Department of Criminal Investigation says there are about a dozen cases that remain open.

Click here to see the documents. Warning -- the documents do contain profanity.

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