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Madison police chief, mayor troubled by Scott Walker's comments

There's more bad news for Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker after his embarrassing conversation with a phone prankster posing as a billionaire Republican donor.

Walker was caught in a very Nixonian moment admitting he'd thought about placing undercover troublemakers among the union protesters in Madison to incite the crowd.

Now Walker's earning scorn from Madison Police Chief Noble Wray, and Mayor Dave Cieslewicz is furious.

Buffalo, N.Y., blogger Ian Murphy asked Walker during their 20-minute conversation whether he'd considered such a tactic.

Sure, said Walker, who imagined he was talking to GOP financier David Koch. But he wasn't sure he had the backing:

"The only problem with that--because we thought about that. The problem with--my only gut reaction to that would be, right now the lawmakers I've talked to have just completely had it with them. The public is not really fond of this."
Mayor Dave Cieslewicz
Mayor Dave Cieslewicz

When recordings of the conversation were made public, the mayor was furious.

"The governor of Wisconsin actually thought about planting people in the crowds who might turn these peaceful protests into something ugly?" Cieslewicz said. "For the governor of our state to suggest that he even considered disrupting these peaceful protests is a serious thing."

Chief Wray issued this statement on the official Madison PD website. We're reprinting the whole message, because it's an extraordinary attack on the governor from a leading law enforcement officer.

"I spent a good deal of time overnight thinking about Governor Walker's response, during his news conference yesterday, to the suggestion that his administration 'thought about' planting troublemakers among those who are peacefully protesting his bill.

I would like to hear more of an explanation from Governor Walker as to what exactly was being considered, and to what degree it was discussed by his cabinet members. I find it very unsettling and troubling that anyone would consider creating safety risks for our citizens and law enforcement officers. Our department works hard dialoging with those who are exercising their First Amendment right, those from both sides of the issue, to make sure we are doing everything we can to ensure they can demonstrate safely. I am concerned that anyone would try to undermine these relationships. I have a responsibility to the community, and to the men and women of this department--who are working long hours protecting and serving this community--to find out more about what was being considered by state leaders."

Here's Part 1 of Scott Walker getting punk'd:

 

Madison PD released a separate statement, also on the department's website, questioning Walker's strategy and judgment:

"The men and the women of the Madison Police Department train for crowd situations where an agitator or provocateur may try to create safety risks for citizens and officers. During the demonstration around the Capitol Square no such situation has arisen. Crowd behavior has been exemplary, and thousands of Wisconsin citizens are to be commended for the peaceful ways in which they have expressed First Amendment rights."

Here's Part 2 of Walker getting punk'd:

Walker, meanwhile, ordered state troopers today to act as political muscle by visiting the homes of the 14 Democratic senators who have fled the state and deprived the GOP-controlled upper chamber of the quorum necessary to vote on--and assuredly pass--the union-busting bill.

All the senators are in Illinois, and beyond the reach of Walker's troopers. Here are their photos.

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