Reports from Tuesday night's Madison City Council meeting described the atmosphere as tense. That tension was due mainly to controversy over Police Chief Mike Koval's blog post from Sunday night objecting to the timing of a funding proposal for a review of his department's policies, procedures, culture and training.
So how tense did it get? In six videos captured from the full meeting footage, several alders and Koval confronted each other, largely over perceptions of a lack of mutual respect.
Early in the debate among alders over the proposal, Alds. Mark Clear and Matt Phair accused Koval of setting a toxic tone with his blog and an appearance at a neighborhood listening session last week.
"I hope we never have a public manager in this city who turns against this body so viciously," Clear said. "I'm sorry to have to go there."
Ald. Paul Skidmore subsequently rose to the chief's defense and asked him a question to allow Koval to respond to the attacks during the course of debate. Koval's response included criticism of how some alders questioned some members of the public who testified against the funding proposal earlier in the meeting.
Ald. Steve King confronted Koval over his blog post specifically, asking him if he regretted the decision to write it. Koval responded by referring to advantages he saw in resorting to an adversarial approach. Ald. Denise DeMarb is seated in front of Koval and can be seen reacting to his answers.
Ald. Samba Baldeh took an even harder line than King and said Koval's tone was unacceptable and said he was uncomfortable having Koval sit behind him armed with a gun. Koval characterized Baldeh's remarks as a "rant."
Ald. Rebecca Kemble questioned Koval and sought to reach mutual understanding over the chief's opposition to the department review process and language he used on his blog.
Ald. Amanda Hall challenged Koval on his explanation that some of the language he used on his blog was intended to be a metaphor and not intended literally.