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State Senator Tim Carpenter says he's still recovering after being 'sucker punched' during Madison protest

Posted at 1:21 AM, Jul 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-15 08:57:56-04

In his first TV interview since the assault, State Senator Tim Carpenter tells TMJ4's Charles Benson he is still recovering from his injuries.

It's been nearly three weeks since Milwaukee Democrat Carpenter was assaulted.

"As they say in football, I had my bell rung," said Sen. Carpenter. "I had a light concussion, dizziness and that type of thing."

It all started when he was walking to the state capitol around midnight to do some work when he saw the protesters and pulled out his phone to take this video.

"I had no idea I had walked into a hornet's nest," said Carpenter. "All of a sudden two women, white women, started coming towards me. I had three seconds to react."

The hornet's nest he walked into outside the state Capitol turned out to be a violent night of tearing down statues and breaking windows.

In the Madison police incident report, Carpenter describes being "sucker punched" and then" fell to the ground and was battered by several people."

A witness told police " approximately ten people punched and kicked the politician while he was on the ground."

Video shows Carpenter later collapsing near the Capitol.

Sen. Carpenter: There were 8-10 people, probably at least five or six punches and then I went to the ground - there, people started kicking.
Benson: Are you thinking "am I going to die here?"
Sen. Carpenter: I didn't think the outcome because [I] hadn't been beaten up before.

Carpenter has been a Milwaukee state lawmaker since 1984, half of those years in the Senate.

He still doesn't know who attacked him that night or why. He says he tried to explain to them who he was and that he was an ally.

"I asked them, 'Why are you doing this?' I tried telling them about my background."

He opposes the violence on the streets but agrees with the protest over the deaths of George Floyd by police in Minnesota and Joel Acevedo in Milwaukee.

"I'm gay, I support all civil rights," said Carpenter. "I believe everyone has a right to live without discrimination."

Just as surprising as the assault is what happened after.

Two days later, President Trump described Carpenter as "a Democrat who happened to be gay" and falsely suggested he "was probably out there rooting them on or something, because Democrats think it's wonderful that they're destroying our country."

"I wasn't rooting it and I didn't make any statements. I tried taking a picture and I got beat up for that," said Carpenter.

Carpenter also says he's also being criticized on the left in a blog suggesting he's somehow a traitor stating that he"was against the liberators of the Black Lives Movement."

"Not true," says Carpenter, who says what happened has only made him more determined to find common ground to solve big issues.

Carpenter says he suffered a couple of cuts to his face and head needed surgery for his nose but he tells TMJ4 he's thankful for the hundreds of text messages, emails and letters from people who were concerned about him and wanted to show support.

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