Madison Police Hold Up Activist At Gunpoint For Calling 911 In Medical Emergency

evidencebagThe setting is Madison Wisconsin. A historical activism stronghold of about 230,000 people and unusually low violent crime compared to other cities of its size. By far the largest municipality in Dane County, a county of which, according to the “Race to Equity” report by the Wisconsin Council on Children and Families, has the highest racial disparities in incarceration in the entire country. According to Madison also ranks as the third highest city in the nation for police killings as opposed to civilian killings. In fact, on multiple years more people were killed by Madison police than by Madison residents.

Rewind back to 2011. The iconic occupation of the Capitol, what has been credited as the inspiration for the entire Occupy Wall Street movement that proceeded it. Tens of thousands of people a day, some days over 100,000 flooding the Capitol Square to petition their government. A new generation of political activists emerge combined with previous generations all strategizing for change. Occupying the Capitol building 24/7, a move that had not been seen for decades.

After the occupation ended there was a time when numbers were much smaller. Capitol Police decided to use this time to restrict activities they could not legally restrict. That’s where I came in. Leading a series of civil disobedience actions over a period of two years, the first that had been seen in the Capitol, again for decades. Police and media painted me as the face of civil disobedience and police took notice, arresting me fifty times over the next three years, only three of which held up none of which were violent.

Fast forward to August of 2014. Michael Brown is gunned down in Ferguson Missouri sparking protest groups across the country in the Black Lives Matter movement. Locally in Madison, a group called Young, Gifted, and Black starts up organizing protests and rallies forming the Madison arm of this movement. March 6, 2015 Madison Police Officer Matt Kenny kills local black teenager Tony Robinson. Holes exist all over his story, a smile across his face in pictures afterwards. Protests ensue in Madison, including civil disobedience. I participate in many of these protests as merely a participant/ally, in no way a leadership capacity as I had in the Capitol struggle. Running a business allows me the financial resources to kick into this battle, again as merely an ally, in ways I see fit. I form a basis of bail, on one occasion bailing everyone out who was still in the jail (and not released) after an action blocking a street. When the non indictment comes through I get hundreds of yard signs printed for people to carry around bearing the message “Fuck The Police Jail Matt Kenny”.

Fast forward again to July 12th of 2016. I own a house in an upper middle class neighborhood of town. One of the people I am renting a room to is on house arrest for an infraction involving a plant. Deputy Hamilton of the Dane County Sheriffs Department stops by the house to do a random drug screen on the roommate. He then takes him to the jail in handcuffs. The next day I call to find out what happened. Deputy Hamilton informs me that my house and particularly me have been put on red alert. I asked what that means. He informs me that it means any time the address, my name, or my car are pulled up in the system it pops up Red Alert: Dangerous to law enforcement – Proceed with caution.

Naturally, I am curious how a person who has no violent history whatsoever would get singled out like that. I inform Deputy Hamilton that it must be a mistake. I informed him out of dozens of contacts with police never once have I even been alleged to have been violent. He proceeds to tell me that days prior the neighbors said they saw someone with a gun at my house. Keep in mind my neighbors are quite old and quite racist. They have made statements about how they do not like me because I bring “N******” around the neighborhood. Despite the fact that no guest of my house has ever caused an issue in the neighborhood they label me as a thug. They question how someone my age (28) could own a house in such a neighborhood and assume it must be criminal activity. I inform Deputy Hamilton that Wisconsin is an open carry state and although the accusations were false they constitute legal activity. He informs me that it is the combination of this accusation and, in his words, “The work you have done for a very small yet very vocal minority in the community”. I try to question him further but, realizing he has already said too much, he hangs up.

Fast forward again to 1:57 A.M., September 21, 2016. I am in my basement coughing/vomiting up large amounts of blood and barely able to breathe. I had gotten an exhausting medical treatment the Thursday before and things were not going well. I had been in urgent care a day prior and they said my lungs were not sounding good at all and they recommended admitting me for observation but given as it was solely for observation I declined. They gave me a list of symptoms and told me many times very sternly “If any of these pop up call 911. Do not drive like you did today. And do not have someone else drive you.”. Among those was coughing up blood.

Having a 160 lb Mastiff who is a bit overly protective, I assumed the best course of action was to wait on the front porch so that he would not get in the way of emergency services (he particularly doesn’t like police). Several minutes pass by and I’m wondering why the ambulance, a 2 minute drive at legal speed, hasn’t shown up yet. I see three people walking down the street checking the mailboxes on the end of the cul-de-sacs for numbers. And then they approach my cul-de-sac. They stand in the lawn for the racist neighbors and start yelling “Jeremy, are you Jeremy”. Obviously this was an insensitive move, as I had just told dispatch I can barely breathe or talk let alone yell. They yell over “You’re going to need to come off your property and over here if you want to be treated”.

I find this rather ridiculous but I am in no shape to protest at this point. As I’m walking, rather slowly, I begin to reach for my phone as I realize these are police. One of the three officers quickly pulls his gun, locks it on me, and they all yell “KEEP YOUR HANDS AWAY FROM YOUR POCKETS”. Gun still locked on me, I continue towards them knowing I just need medical attention. They inform me that the ambulance is waiting down the street. They say that because I have been labeled as dangerous to law enforcement they must search me before emergency medical care can be administered. I have choice words and verbally protest but allow them to search me seeing very little other choice and not having the time to buy. They pull everything out of my pockets and put it in an evidence bag, pictured above. They then call through their radios and tell the ambulance I have been searched and they can come now.

When I get in the ambulance they begin administering aid as I am taken to the hospital. I ask if they have ever seen this happen before, as in being instructed by police to wait down the street before giving aid until they have searched someone. They said they had not. Thankfully my issues were not as bad as urgent care had said they could be with those symptoms. I was able to be treated in time and made it through the night. But it does lead one to question, how an agency paid to protect and serve can intentionally hold up emergency medical assistance that I called for and wasn’t related in any way to a crime for symptoms that could be extremely time sensitive simply because they disagree with my opinion of them. Based on the symptoms I was having, just those extra minutes could have killed me in worst case scenario. In other words the Madison Police Department was literally willing and consciously made the decision to put my life on the line simply to intimidate and prove a point.

In no stretch of logic could I be a threat to them. I have never once in my dozens of encounters so much as lifted a finger at an officer or threatened physical violence. There is no basis whatsoever in any grounding of logic, where I would be a credible threat to any emergency services. This was a deliberate move and abuse of power to try to put me in my place. Emergency services are not something to be withheld in any circumstance. And then to hold me at gunpoint and demand I consent to a search and hold my health and my life over my head. That’s the reality of this situation. The police in Madison have gotten so far out of control that this is what they do. I can only imagine, if I am on this list, that other activists are as well. Requests for comment from the police department were returned with a generic answer not denying that this is what happened but simply brushing it under the rug as procedure. A hostile threat packaged up and wrapped in a bow labeled as procedure. But I will not back down. I will continue to have a voice, I will continue to use that voice to expose their abuses of power. No matter how many times they point a gun at me. No matter how many times they literally and intentionally put my life in jeopardy. This situation and their actions are direct domestic terrorism. And I will fight that terrorism psychologically not physically. The same way I did to cause them to fear me so much in the first place. To Chief Koval and Madison Police. You are being watched.  And be on notice: this is a preemptive first strike from me to you. I am going to push back hard when MPD commits acts of domestic terrorism and suppresses emergency care for citizens who have never had a history of violence simply because they challenge your lack of accountability and horrible statistics of policing.


Jeremy Ryan


18 thoughts on “Madison Police Hold Up Activist At Gunpoint For Calling 911 In Medical Emergency

  1. Please contact the ACLU. Sounds like you have a strong legal case against MLD that could lead to positive changes within the department.

  2. I am so sorry, as a citizen of this community, that this is what our law enforcement has come to. The voice of activism is no longer welcomed in this community, it seems. Why is the 2nd amendment so much more protected than the 1st amendment by those in charge? I hope you are feeling better. I wonder if getting a civil rights attorney would be worthwhile, if you can afford it?

  3. Interesting. Irvng Smith and Kelley Dee Albrecht have been doing a similar thing to me that the cops did to you. He and/or Kelley make provocative false statements, and film me if I reply. Then they show my reply as if that was the only thing that happened. They’ve been doing gthis on and off for the last 5 months. The last one was only about 5 days ago. I’m hopping on my bike outside of Bariques cafe and look up when I hear someone yelling and screaming at me. It’s Irv riding by in a pick-up. This time I yelled back for the 1st time (It’s been going on for 3-1/2 months now ever since I asked them to move their van out of my driveway (another long story: Irv was supposed to paint my house to stay there, and never completed the work in 4-1/2 months only painting most of 2-1/2 sides, then started lying to people as if I ripped him off when it was exactly the opposite). Since they moved out, they’ve come into cafes where I hang out and harassed me, vandalized property, yell osceneties or derogatory words at me, and I’ve hardly ever replied. Twice total, and only yelled once when they drove by. Irv put his fist in my face and called me a “Little Bitch!” in fornt of cafe patrons and the barista working there. So because they refuse to stop, I have no choice but to share their behavior on as many social media sites as I can. Hang in there, Jeremy 🙂 You’re the real deal. Irv and Kelley do it for the “glory,” obviously.

    1. IS & KDA also hacked into my Facebook Account, and added my name to my moniker here. I also found out that they provoke people they dislike while filming them, then they show the person’s reaction w/o showing their provocation. Not only to me, but to SSA singers too. There’s something wrong with them…

      1. I don’t know if they added my name, I should’ve said. It would be because of them. I didn’t do it. I know they have a record of doing this kind of stuff, and obviously motive. They tried every kind of psychological trick and threat they could come up with, some of it illegal. Almost all of it was immoral. It was just unbelievable. I could say a lot more, but this isn’t really the place for it. I don’t understand them. I gave them more than what we agreed too, and he never did do what he was supposed too for that, although he did most of it. But anaywa, I won’t say anything else here. I only met you once at Mathew’s kick-off at Scotter Therapy and since then I’ve stood up for you on The Daily Page… Isthmus Forum. Not trying to better than anyone, but I’m sick of what they’re doing. There’s no good reason for it.

    2. Yeah, I should let the truth be known. I know how much they’ve lied by implication, or just outridght. 20+ years ago, I was the recrpient of police harrassment by a few cops in a small Wisconsin town. Some of the police routinely used people already in trouble with the law to implicate people they dislike, offering the false witness leniency in their active cases if they lie under oath. A couple examples: A young woman who robbed a bar in town that her mom closed that night, and who was caught with the money a week later, was never charged when she lied udner oath to accuse me, and 2 others of robbing it. Unfortunately for the cops that time, there were too many witnesses that knew this wasn’t true, so the charges were dismissed. I wasn’t so lucky when they used a 25 year old fellow who was caught having sex with a 15 year old to blame me for a crime a kid committed, whose mom worked with the police on a daily basis. Another time I was charged with “felony burglary” for eating a “small amount of a loaf of wheat bread” in an unlocked church (case 90CF15) as the cops couldn’t catch whoever robbed the Dairy Queen and a local gas station. They embellished the Police Report by making it sound like we “broke” in to an unlocked church. They wanted to appear like they were doing their jobs, and I was expendable because, like Irv often is, I was homeless. I couldn’t afford representation, etc. I’m not a criminal, although I’ve mey a few. In fact Kelley and Irv stole a few things from me, so I guess that’s why they’re so vigorously lying about what happened. I just wanted to go my own way, but they wouldn’t let that happen, so I started speaking out about it. I didn’t rip him off. He’s not being honest about what happened. But he frequently wasn’t honest with me when he stayed 11-1/2 months in my driveway either. And I’m supposed to shut up about it after he lied to people in a way to slander me. I tried to be passive about it. There are too many good things in this world… But sometimes you have to stand up when people lie about you. Over and out 🙂

    3. The thing of it is, they knew I was set-up by the police several times-I talked about it a bit and they chose to lie about how that happened anyway because it’s all about them. The crazy part of it is, I respected them for protesting, even looked up to them, and I let them stay in my driveway an extra 7 months for free even though he never did do his end of the deal-he came close, and when I had to let them go, they came after me like I was some kind of asshole. It was just unreal. So now I have to go around and try to straighten it out a bit… He should fix his own mental illness first before he fucks with other people. I’m sorry to bug you about it, but I found out how much they were lying about this, and you know you have to stand up for yourself especially when it’s the opposite of what happened… peace.

  4. We need dozens, nay, hundreds more just like you, who are willing to stand and fight against illegal repercussions to verbal protest against that which is wrong. As free US citizens, we all need to put the powers that be on notice just as you have. We must show them that we are not afraid, and will protect our constitutional rights to the death. … sending positive vibes, & prayers that you heal well.

  5. Before any readers unacquainted with Madison’s Police Chief get stressed out about “To Chief Koval and Madison Police. You are being watched. And be on notice: this is a preemptive first strike from me to you. I am going to push back hard when MPD commits acts of domestic terrorism and suppresses emergency care for citizens who have never had a history of violence simply because they challenge your lack of accountability and horrible statistics of policing” please understand that this language was first uttered by Chief Koval in his own blog: “To the Common Council: You are being watched. And be on notice: this is a pre-emptive first strike from me to you. I am going to push back hard when MPD is constantly used as a political punching bag and you are nowhere to be found.” (5 June 2016)

  6. Thank you for your incredible courage to speak truth to power even as you deal with a serious, painful illness. I remember being held at gunpoint by police there in 1970 when a belligerent officer came to the wrong address in my student neighborhood. I still remember his words as he pointed his gun at me, fear visible in his eyes: “Move and I’ll shoot.” Fortunately, my black housemate and I were able to calm him down. It’s distressing to hear that Madison police have only grown more oppressive and brutal over the years. Sending you healing thoughts and gratitude for your work and courage.

  7. Jeremy, do you know if it was MPD or the sheriff’s office that put the Red Alert on you? And do you know exactly when it went into effect — for instance, was it in effect on the day Deputy Hamilton came to your house to do the random drug test of your tenant in July?
    I’m a reporter with the State Journal and will be contacting police for a comment, but wanted to clarify those two things first. Thanks.

    1. Deputy Hamilton said that it was Madison PD that put the red alert on me. I am not sure exactly when it went into effect but I do know that it was before the random drug screen in July. Could have been days before or hours, the incident they referred to (where the neighbors stated that they saw someone possessing a gun on my property) was on July 8th I do know that per Deputy Hamilton’s explanation after reading the notes. So in that short time frame between July 8th and the drug screen on the 12th.

  8. UNf-cking believable. I know Madison has always had a mild form of racism. (When I was in college I lived in the south end of town, which statistics wise was safer then the student district, but I used to gte asked as a white young man “how can you live there” all the time. The unstated content was “with those black people.”

    But this sort of secret policing is anathema to everything this country is supposed to stand for.

    This makes me scared my step-dad, an ex freedom rider, could be denied necessary medical attention just because he once made an FBI list. Most of us have something in our backgrounds someone else could take objection to.

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