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Retired La Crosse police chief criticizes media image of officers after Floyd death

Brad Williams

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Police in America have been getting unfair treatment in the media, ever since the death of George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis. 

That opinion comes from retired La Crosse Police Chief Ed Kondracki, speaking during an internet listening session on law enforcement put on by Republican congressional candidate Jessi Ebben.

Kondracki opposes efforts to “defund” police and replace them with social workers.

“Actually, only a small portion of what we do, is directly law enforcement related,” Kondracki said. “So, once we start defunding, and somehow, mysteriously bring social workers into the picture at 3 o’clock in the morning, it’s really a pipe dream.”

He also calls it “fake news” when TV reports frequently show officers in riot gear, and suggest that police brutality is common.

“I’m convinced that this rioting is an intentional effort to force law enforcement to put on that uniform or that riot control gear intentionally to make police look like an occupying force,” said Kondracki, who served as La Crosse chief from 1993 to 2012.

Other western Wisconsin police leaders spoke out against a federal bill to reduce “qualified immunity” for officers, saying that would discourage people from joining law enforcement. 

Ebben criticizes incumbent Congressman Ron Kind (D-La Crosse) for supporting that police bill, voting against area police’s interests.

Monroe County Sheriff Wes Revels disputes the claim being made that “systemic racism” exists in many police departments, and argues there’s no problem with Wisconsin law officers.

“I don’t see that here in Wisconsin, at all,” Revels said. “And I certainly don’t see that in the 3rd District, OK? We, I believe, have great police officers. They are not concerned about an individual’s race. They show up to work and do their job and are respectful, in a professional matter.”

Revels and other panelists say Wisconsin law officers are very professional and well-educated. 

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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