Police investigating ‘targeted’ arson at Wis. anti-abortion office
MADISON, Wis. (WMTV/Gray News) - Police are continuing to investigate after they say someone threw a Molotov cocktail, ignited a fire and vandalized an anti-abortion group’s office in Madison, Wisconsin.
The Madison Fire Department received reports of flames at the Wisconsin Family Action office at approximately 6 a.m. Sunday, police say. Firefighters were able to quickly put the fire out. No injuries were reported.
Upon further investigation, police were able to determine that a Molotov cocktail was thrown into the building but did not ignite. They believe a separate fire was started in response, WMTV reports.
Graffiti was also found at the scene. The words “If abortions aren’t safe then you aren’t either” were painted on the outside of the building, as well as an “A” symbol with the numbers “1312.″
Federal investigators have been briefed on this incident.
Wisconsin Family Action is an anti-abortion and pro-life organization, but President Julaine Appling said she never thought those who oppose their views would take things this far.
“We’ve done nothing to warrant this, nothing to warrant a direct threat because of our position on life,” Appling said.
Appling said she does not feel safe at the office anymore, and said she’s worried about her pro-life friends as abortion uncertainty continues in Wisconsin and the entire United States.
“That’s not the America I know. That’s not how we respond,” she said. “If we’re truly tolerant, then we should be able to share our opinions without threats to people’s safety and security.”
She’s not sure if the organization will move locations or stay at the office campus on the northeast side of Madison.
“I’ll tell you one thing: I don’t want to be bullied into a move,” Appling said. “But I have the security of my team. That’s my responsibility. I have to be concerned about that, so we’re going to have to take a very, very close look at next steps.”
Madison Police Chief Shon Barnes said in a statement, “Our department has and continues to support people being able to speak freely and openly about their beliefs. But we feel that any acts of violence, including the destruction of property, do not aid in any cause.”
Gov. Tony Evers echoed their words, saying on Twitter, “We reject violence against any person for disagreeing with another’s view.”
Sen. Ron Johnson said on Twitter this incident “is abhorrent and should be condemned by all.”
Copyright 2022 WMTV via Gray Media Group, Inc. All rights reserved.