We previously discussed the attack on a Wisconsin state senator who simply tried take pictures of rioters destroying statues and causing property damage in Madison on June 23rd. Democratic state Sen. Tim Carpenter was hospitalized after the attack. Now, two women, Samantha R. Hamer, 26, (right) and Kerida E. O’Reilly, 33, (left) have been arrested in the attack. What is interesting is that the punitive measures are not just criminal charges against the women. Hamer is particularly likely to suffer immediate employment consequences as a teacher. She is a specialist in helping kids with “social-emotional needs” and “behavioral issues.”
Video footage shows Carpenter, 60, being beaten by eight to 10 people and suffering a concussion. However, two women are the first to attack him:
The assault came as the mob was moving to topple two statues including Civil War abolitionist Hans Christian Heg and another of a female figure representing the state’s “Forward” motto.
In a video posted to his Twitter page, Sen. Tim Carpenter (D-Milwaukee) said he was punched and kicked in the head, neck and ribs.
The police had clear pictures of the two women.
Samantha Hamer’s profile on the district’s official homepage (here) states that she assists “students and families who are struggling with social-emotional needs, behavioral issues, or environmental issues in the family, school and/or community.” According to reports, Hamer works as a licensed social worker for the Mount Horeb School District in suburban Madison and O’Reilly is a licensed physical therapist in Madison with a Doctorate in Physical Therapy program from Marquette University.
Hamer has been put on administrative leave by the Mount Horeb School System. This is a violent crime and thus the move was predictable.
Both women however also fall under licensing authority of the Department of Safety and Professional Services, which will now review their licenses for possible revocation.
One issue may be whether the concussion is treated as “serious” or “great” bodily harm under the statute. It is clearly a felony since bodily injury occurred but there is a distinction on the level of harm in terms of the level of felony under Wisconsin law:
940.19 Battery; substantial battery; aggravated battery.(1) Whoever causes bodily harm to another by an act done with intent to cause bodily harm to that person or another without the consent of the person so harmed is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor.(2) Whoever causes substantial bodily harm to another by an act done with intent to cause bodily harm to that person or another is guilty of a Class I felony.(4) Whoever causes great bodily harm to another by an act done with intent to cause bodily harm to that person or another is guilty of a Class H felony.(5) Whoever causes great bodily harm to another by an act done with intent to cause great bodily harm to that person or another is guilty of a Class E felony.(6) Whoever intentionally causes bodily harm to another by conduct that creates a substantial risk of great bodily harm is guilty of a Class H felony. A rebuttable presumption of conduct creating a substantial risk of great bodily harm arises:(a) If the person harmed is 62 years of age or older; or(b) If the person harmed has a physical disability, whether congenital or acquired by accident, injury or disease, that is discernible by an ordinary person viewing the physically disabled person, or that is actually known by the actor.
Wisconsin has a definition of the base terms that would apply:
“Bodily harm” means physical pain or injury, illness, or any impairment of physical condition.
“Great bodily harm” means bodily injury which creates a substantial risk of death, or which causes serious permanent disfigurement, or which causes a permanent or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ or other serious bodily injury.
Hospital care for a concussion would seem a great bodily harm though it is not clear if there was “protracted” impairment. A concussion would be argued as reflecting an assault substantial risk of death.
The women could also argue that they were not intending such harm. A jury may not be willing to afford them such a presumption.
Given the serious injury to the senator and the evidence that he did nothing to provoke the assault, this would seem to be a case that is almost certain to be handled in a plea agreement if prosecutors are in the bargaining mood. That however is the open question.
Carpenter could also sue for tort liability for assault and battery. However, given the collateral licensing move, there may be little chance for the payment of serious damages by either woman. Ultimately, such damages can result in garnishments from future employment, but again that future may be dim if they are convicted in a violent assault.