Sheriff Issues Racist Press Release


Contact: Madison-Area Democratic Socialists of America

Sheriff Issues Racist Press Release

July 10, 2020 – Sheriff David J. Mahoney’s recent press release reveals his office’s profoundly anti-Black racial bias. In his rush to alert the public about people who are not currently in jail, he’s forgotten some truly dangerous individuals. We’d like to fill in the gaps. 

BREAKING NEWS! These white individuals are also NOT in jail today. 

  • Matt Kenny, aged around 50 of Madison, murdered two people, including an unarmed Black teenager, Tony Robinson. Subject at large! Has never faced any criminal charges for these murders. Last seen: working for Madison Metropolitan Police Department!
  • Brendan O’Neil, age 26 of Sun Prairie, stands accused of a hit-and-run, injuring a Black woman with his truck. Bail set at $350; he reportedly left jail almost immediately after his arrest. Presumably still operating his truck, a potentially deadly weapon. Look out!
  • Four white “classic Wisconsin frat boys,” ages unknown, who sprayed lighter fluid at an 18-year old Black woman before throwing a lighter at her, causing the fluid to ignite, burning her face and neck. They have not been found. Top guys not on it!

These men did not require the assistance of a bail fund to get free, relying instead on institutionalized white supremacy to shield them from accountability. Friends and Comrades of Madison Democratic Socialists are not calling for the imprisonment of the individuals that are referred to here. As abolitionists, we bring attention to these few white men to highlight the racist assumptions around guilt and innocence that sit at the core of the criminal punishment system in general and the Dane County Sheriff’s Office in particular. In a society valuing Black life, the press release and the naked racism it exposes in the Sheriff’s office would warrant Sheriff Mahoney’s resignation or dismissal. In the days to come, we will continue to see whether ours is such a society.

Support Free the 350 Bail fund. Release all incarcerated people in Dane County Jail and Defund the Police.
You can download a copy of this press release to spread the word.

Madison-Area Democratic Socialists of America condemns Dane County Sheriff Dave Mahoney’s press release and stands in solidarity with Free the 350, Freedom Inc., and all organizations calling for the release of incarcerated people from Dane County Jail. You can read MADSA’s full statement here.

We are also distressed to share that almost as soon as we started putting this satirical press release together, another racist attack took place in our community. A violent white racist attacked a Black woman and her children at Woodman’s. The attacker, David Lythjohan, punched and shoved multiple members of the family, including a four-year-old girl, while hurling disgusting racial slurs. He was arrested and taken to jail. A local activist called the jail and found out that Lythjohan was charged with two misdemeanors: battery and disorderly conduct, for which the standard bail amount is $650. Lythjohan is also not in jail today, further highlighting that the Dane County Jail has nothing to do with public safety.

You can contribute to a fundraiser set up for the family that was subjected to Lythjohan’s violence here.

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