No Report Filed, No Case Number Assigned to Wausau DNR Vandalism

MacIver News Service | June 28, 2013

Warning: Inappropriate Language

[Wausau, Wisc…] The Wisconsin DNR did not file any official complaints with law enforcement after protesters stormed its Wausau office and nailed a banner to the roof last month, according to the Marathon County Sheriff’s Department, which responded to the incident.

That means not only was no one arrested or cited, there was never even a report filed or case number assigned. One deputy speculated that the DNR was only concerned with getting the protesters off the premises.

Emails, obtained by the MacIver News Service through an open records request, describe half a dozen protesters walking into the Wausau office around 1:45 pm on Monday May 20, 2013. They tried to push their way into non-public areas and yelled things like “DNR is a fucking joke,” and “genocide of the Ojibwa.” One employee locked herself in her office.

Another employee recognized some of the protesters from UW-Stevens Point.

“Those inside the building acted as distractors while others outside scaled the building and nailed a large banner displaying ‘Do Not Resuscitate Mining Bill’ to the roof,” a warden supervisor described in an email on Tuesday.

Those nails were pounded through shingles, but none of the emails described the damage this caused or any subsequent repairs.

Protesters had attended a “direct action” training camp in the Chequamegon Forest over the weekend, but DNR staff didn’t know about it. The day after the protest an information specialist emailed a link to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel story about the camp to colleagues at the Wausau office.

“Too bad some of us didn’t see this before yesterday,” he wrote.

By Wednesday new signs and locks were in place. According to emails, DNR employees did not care for the new safety measures and were “griping because the door is locked.”

However, other DNR staff took the incident much more seriously. Some reached out to the Rhinelander Police Department to prepare in event of future protests.

The warden supervisor, mentioned above, emailed the Rhinelander Chief of Police, “With the Homeland Security active shooter awareness training that was provided online to the public a few months ago we started talking about securing some of the DNR offices to some extent. Money is always an issue but your suggestions will help along with the Wausau incident as an impetus.”

As protesters left the Wausau building after the May 20th incident, at least one was overheard saying, “We will be back.”