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HomeBreaking NewsMilwaukee NAACP Wants Chisholm's Response on Janet Protasiewicz Racial Slur Allegations

Milwaukee NAACP Wants Chisholm’s Response on Janet Protasiewicz Racial Slur Allegations


The president of the Milwaukee Chapter of the NAACP said on Thursday that he wants to see Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm’s response on whether he will launch an investigation into allegations that Supreme Court candidate Janet Protasiewicz used racial slurs, including the “N word” to refer to blacks involved in Children’s Court cases when she was an assistant district attorney in Chisholm’s office.

Protasiewicz has refused to deny the allegations despite being given more than a day to do so.

We told Clarence P. Nicholas, president of the NAACP-Milwaukee, that Wisconsin Right Now had asked Chisholm whether he will launch a review into Protasiewicz’s cases as a Children’s Court prosecutor to determine whether any of the cases were affected by racial animus or bias.

In addition to termination of parental rights cases, Protasiewicz handled cases of children in need of protective services and those accused of juvenile delinquency for crimes, her judicial application states.

Nicholas told Wisconsin Right Now in an email, “I would like to see DA John Chisholm’s response?” He copied Protasiewicz’s campaign on the email.

Here is the entire email with our questions and Nicholas’s responses:

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So far Chisholm has not responded. We have also asked new Milwaukee County Chief Judge Carl Ashley whether he will seek a review of Protasiewicz’s cases as a judge to ensure that racial bias wasn’t involved, but we have not heard back from him, either.

In a podcast with Wisconsin Right Now on Thursday night, Fond du Lac County District Attorney Eric Toney, who is president of the Wisconsin District Attorneys’ Association, said that he would review a prosecutor’s cases and investigate the allegations if someone accused a prosecutor in his office of using racial slurs. He also said he hoped that Chisholm would do so.

Toney stressed that he was making the comments as himself only and not on behalf of the WDAA because he couldn’t speak for the board.

Nicholas added, “The slurs are said to be an ‘accusation’ and should be treated as such unless the person it was pointed to comes forward and says it indeed happened.”

In fact, two people have come forward and alleged they heard Protasiewicz use the “N word.” They are her former stepson, Michael Madden, and Jon Ehr, a former Milwaukee business owner and self-described liberal who was friends with Protasiewicz’s ex-husband, Judge Patrick Madden, for decades. Protasiewicz won’t comment.

The NAACP appears to be saying that it won’t take an accusation that someone used the “N word” seriously unless the accused person admits to it.

After saying he wants to see Chisholm’s response, Nicholas added, “We have a number of cases that are affecting individuals at present that weigh far more than an ‘accusation,’ we hope that he will respond to immediately.”

Nicholas said the racial slur accusation is “by someone unknown to me.” As a result, he said, the accusation is “a little much to comprehend, let alone respond in an intelligent manner.”

He added: “This video is worst (sic) than the ‘accusation’ because the person doesn’t appear to be sure of what took place.” However, the only video in the Wisconsin Right Now story on the racial slurs is of Protasiewicz’s former stepson, Michael Madden, who told Wisconsin Right Now that he is sure that he heard Protasiewicz refer to blacks as the “N word” while she was a prosecutor in Milwaukee County Children’s Court in 1997. He says she made the comments while discussing issues around the kitchen table, referring to blacks involved in court cases, including black parents.

You can see for yourself here:

After receiving Nicholas’s response, we called Michael Madden back and asked him if, as Nicholas inferred, he is not sure what took place. How sure is Michael Madden that Protasiewicz used the “N word” racial slur? we asked.

“Crystal clear. 100% clear. I have no doubt in my mind. I can see her at the table doing it. And my dad was aghast at that point as well,” Michael Madden said.

Ehr also told Wisconsin Right Now that he heard Protasiewicz use the “N word” in the Madden home as well as use a racial slur to refer to Hispanics, although he couldn’t remember the context of the 1997 conversation.

We also called Ehr a second time, and, as with Madden, he repeated multiple times that he heard Protasiewicz use the “N word.”

Nicholas compared accusations of using the “N word” to “minor cases.”

He said he did not think the allegations that Protasiewicz used the “N word” to refer to black parents and defendants in court cases when she was a prosecutor are disqualifying because “it will open up unfounded future opportunities to damage candidates with minor cases or cases that have been closed involving candidates running for public office.”

He said that he was not concerned that a Supreme Court candidate has been accused by two people of saying the “N word,” adding, “But more important would be her age and time of the ‘accusation’ occurred. (we do not condone any wrong behavior of any kind in the courtroom).”

Protasiewicz was 34 years old and an assistant district attorney in 1997, when Madden and Ehr say they heard her use the “N word” to refer to blacks.

Jim Piwowarczyk
Jim Piwowarczyk is an investigative journalist and co-founder of Wisconsin Right Now.

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