Sheriff Turns Wis. ‘Chokehold’ Investigation Over To Subordinates

June 29, 2011 8:13 a.m.

It appears to now be politically difficult to even find a proper venue for investigating the alleged physical altercation at the Wisconsin Supreme Court — in which liberal Justice Ann Walsh Bradley has accused conservative Justice David Prosser of grabbing her neck in a chokehold, during an argument over the court’s recent decision regarding the upholding of Gov. Scott Walker’s anti-public employee union legislation.

Dane County (Madison) Sheriff Dave Mahoney, who was elected as a Democrat in a partisan election, has separated himself from the investigation, following complaints by some conservative activists — and also following the investigation having been transferred to him on Monday by the Capitol Police, who had originally been investigating the matter.

Some conservatives had complained that in this past spring election for the state Supreme Court, Mahoney had endorsed Prosser’s opponent JoAnn Kloppenburg. In addition, he has previously endorsed Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson — whom Prosser has previously called a “total bitch,” and when the incident was later reported said the comment was “entirely warranted”

In his statement, Mahoney described the process by which the case was transferred throughout his office in multiple steps, such that he would play no role in assigning detectives or overseeing the investigation.Mahoney’s full statement:

The Office of Sheriff is an elected Constitutional Office and as such the Sheriff is political, even at times endorsing other candidates at the local, state and national level. Although the Office of Dane County Sheriff is an elected office, the duties of the men and women of the Sheriff’s Office are not now nor have they ever been political.

“As Sheriff I demand a high level of ethical conduct and integrity of staff and investigations undertaken by the Sheriff’s Office; and I place those same expectations on myself,” said Sheriff Dave Mahoney.

“Although as Sheriff, I honored the request of the Capitol Police to conduct an investigation into the Supreme Court incident on June 13, 2011, I turned the case over to the Chief Deputy. The Chief Deputy then assigned the case to the Captain of Field Services, who in turn assigned a team of detectives and supervisors to investigate the case and oversee the investigation. As the Sheriff I have no role in the assignment of detectives and supervisors or overseeing the investigation,” said Sheriff Dave Mahoney.

The TPM Journalism Fund: A New Way To Support TPM
We're launching the TPM Journalism Fund as an additional way for readers and members to support TPM. Every dollar contributed goes toward:
  • -Hiring More Journalists
  • -Providing free memberships to those who cannot afford them
  • -Supporting independent, non-corporate journalism
Are you experiencing financial hardship?
Apply for a free community-supported membership
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Senior Editor:
Special Projects Editor:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front-End Developer:
Senior Designer: