A statement from the Abolitionist Working Group of Madison Area Democratic Socialists of America
On March 19, Madison365 reported that Dane County deputies used unreasonable force on Jimmie Lee Joshua, an inmate at the Dane County Jail, resulting in a broken hip and permanent nerve damage. This happened on December 23, 2020 and only came to light more recently. Instead of receiving medical care immediately, Joshua was put into a suicide watch cell for 15 hours, and only recieved necessary care due to his fiancée calling the jail repeatedly. Similarly heinous behavior was on display on Monday, March 22 following the Madison Police Department’s response to a call at a shelter for unhoused men on the East Side. An MPD officer fired their weapon in the shelter in response to alleged violence having already occured. MPD’s response to violence was to escalate with more violence, and then force the residents of the shelter to wait outside without coats or access to medications.
The Abolitionist Working Group of the Madison Area Democratic Socialists of America (MADSA AWG) denounces all forms of law enforcement violence. These two recent, local instances are just drops in an ocean of unrelenting, state-sanctioned violence that disproportionately impacts the BIPOC and poor people in our community. “Law enforcement” as it is currently conceived in our society does not keep people safe. In fact, policing and prisons make us less safe and make already vulnerable people more vulnerable to abuse. Dane County Sheriff’s Deputies broke a man’s hip and then dumped him in a cell alone for 15 hours before he received medical attention. Madison Police officers cavalierly displaced dozens of unhoused people and prevented medics from providing care for a man who was experiencing an asthma attack. These actions only do harm, furthering the dehumanizing conditions that the most vulnerable members of our community are facing.
MADSA AWG calls upon the governments of Madison and Dane County to hold these officers responsible, divest from our police forces, and reinvest that money into our community through housing programs and public service. This should take place under the direction of the community members themselves, particularly those who are directly affected by incarceration and/or houselessness.
The UW Madison BIPOC Coalition is requesting donations to support the displaced residents of the shelter. Donations related to finding shelter for these folks can be made via PayPal at https://www.paypal.me/GMRCMADISON or via CashApp at $GMRCMADISON; donations related to food and medical supplies can be made via Venmo to @UWMadisonBIPOC-Coalition.
Jimmie Joshua’s fiancée has started a fund for the legal fees on his civic suit.
Madison Area DSA’s Abolitionist Working Group formed out of the work to Derail the Jail and the Doyle Resolution campaigns to stop the jail expansion and decarcerate Dane County. This group is the home in Madison Area DSA for all abolition-related work. The Abolitionist Working Group believes that abolition is a key tenet of socialism as prisons and policing are some of the most direct and personal means of state-driven oppression in our current society. The Abolitionist Working Group meets every other Wednesday, with their next meeting scheduled for 7 pm on Wednesday, April 14. You can find information about their meetings and all Madison Area DSA events here.