Social worker, physical therapist charged with assaulting Wisconsin State Senator during protest

Thomas Catenacci, DCNF

Dane Co. Police Dept.

Prosecutors charged two Wisconsin women with substantial battery, a felony, on Wednesday after they allegedly assaulted a state senator outside the state Capitol in Madison during a June protest.

Samantha R. Hamer, 26, and Kerida E. O’Reilly, 33, turned themselves in to the police Monday, according to The Associated Press. The Dane County District Attorney’s Office accused the women of assaulting Democratic state Sen. Tim Carpenter during a protest on June 23.

“Absolutely not guilty,” Hamer’s attorney Adam Matthias Welch said of his client, according to The AP. He added that the district attorney’s case is “shockingly thin.”

O’Reilly’s attorney Nathan Tierney Otis told The AP that it will become clear that she didn’t commit any crime.

Hamer is a high school social worker while O’Reilly is a physical therapist, The AP reported. They have both been banned from Capitol Square and Hamer was placed on leave by the school district she works in.

Eight to 10 people attacked Carpenter during the protest, the state senator tweeted on June 24. Protests have occurred nationwide in the wake of the death of George Floyd, who died on May 25 in Minneapolis police custody after an officer kneeled on his neck, video of the incident shows.

“Punched/kicked in the head, neck, ribs. Maybe concussion, socked in left eye is little blurry, sore neck & ribs,” Carpenter tweeted. “Innocent people are going to get killed. Capitol locked – stuck in office.Stop violence nowPlz!”

Carpenter posted a video which appeared to show two women attacking him as he filmed the protest. It is unclear if the women were Hamer and O’Reilly.

Protesters staged outside the Capitol became agitated following the arrest of a black man who brought a baseball bat and megaphone into a nearby restaurant, according to The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Two statues including one commemorating Col. Hans Christian Heg, who died fighting for the North in the Civil War, were torn down during the demonstration.

“Any single act of injustice against one person is less justice for all of us, and the people who committed these acts of violence will be held accountable,” Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers tweeted. “My thoughts are with [Sen. Carpenter] who was among the individuals attacked last night and wish him a quick recovery.”

Their next court appearance is scheduled for August 6, according to court documents.

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