STURTEVANT — A Racine Correctional Institution officer has been put on administrative leave after comments regarding protesters involved in a recent march were brought to the attention of the Wisconsin Department of Corrections.
According to the Department of Corrections, the department has concluded an investigation into comments allegedly made by a corrections sergeant at RCI, 2019 Wisconsin St., Sturtevant. The comments have also been turned over to the Racine County Sheriff’s Office for a potential criminal investigation.
On Jan. 29, when protesters marched in Racine in response to the Jan. 17 shooting of Donte Shannon by Racine police, a news helicopter live streamed the march on the WTMJ-TV Facebook page.
According to screenshots obtained by The Journal Times, the sergeant, who may have a shared Facebook account with his wife, allegedly commented on the video stating “Run them all over!” in regards to protesters being in the street.
Another commentator replied to the original comment stating verbatim “Aren’t you a correctional officer your superiors will hear about how you really feel.”
It appears that Durkin responded by stating verbatim “Good, I’m sure they feel the same. LOL, if your in the street blocking traffic and disrupting the peace expect to be run over!”
According to the Department of Corrections, the department received several complaints about the comments on Feb. 6 and opened the investigation on Feb. 7.
The results of the investigation have not been released yet, however the department must provide the sergeant 10 days to contest them.
Not first time protesters threatened
This is the second time someone has been investigated for threatening local protesters on Facebook.
Brandon K. Spiller, 35, of the 31000 block of Bear Arbor Drive in Burlington, is charged with a felony count of making terrorist threats on the same WTMJ live stream.
Spiller allegedly posted “Death to all protesters blocking traffic,” “Much rather run them over I read in some states it’s legal to run a protestor over for blocking traffic (emoji of a thinking smiley face), “Can I come to Racine and run these protest(ers) over for blocking traffic lol.”
Racial tensions have risen in the community after Shannon was shot and killed by Racine police officers on Jan. 17 in the 1400 block of Park Avenue after allegedly fleeing a traffic stop and brandishing a handgun.
Last Friday, the state Department of Justice completed its investigation into the shooting and turned its findings over to Racine County District Attorney Tricia Hanson, who has yet to decide if further action is needed against officers who were involved.
Hanson has also stated that after she has made her decision, she plans to meet with the Shannon family to share the results of the investigation before making it public.