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EXCLUSIVE: Wisconsin political attack? An interview with Kyle Wood

By   /   October 26, 2012  /   48 Comments

Editor’s Note: Some readers may be offended by the language Kyle Wood uses in recounting the details of his alleged assault. We’ve decided to reprint the description of the violence here for reasons of accuracy. If you are offended by vulgar language or descriptions of violence, please do not read this report.

By M.D. Kittle | Wisconsin Reporter

WOOD, an openly gay volunteer for GOP congressional campaign, says he was brutally battered in a politically motivated attack.

MADISON — Kyle Wood says he finally got some sleep Thursday night,finally — the first time since early Wednesday morning.

But the sedative he took couldn’t keep the nightmares away, the 29-year-old Madison man said. It was in his sleep, Wood says, he was revisited by the face of his alleged attacker — the curly hair, the broad nose, the sunglasses — over and over again.

A cold face in the mirror.

On Friday morning, two days after Wood says he was brutally beaten by a man at Wood’s High Street home, the openly gay campaign worker for 2nd Congressional District Republican candidate Chad Lee shared his story with Wisconsin Reporter.

He says the alleged attack was politically motivated and related to his sexual orientation, although Wood says he isn’t fond of terms like “hate crime.”

As he recovers from his cuts and bruises and as Madison police continue to investigate, Wood said he’s trying to understand how things in this bitterly divided state have turned so violent and why representatives who have been so outspoken about violence targeting members of the gay community have kept silence about reports of his assault.

Wednesday morning

It was just before 8 a.m. Wood, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, said he answered a knock at the door. It was Wednesday, about the same time every week the Mormon missionaries he knows transfer to a new location. He thought they were coming to say goodbye.

He said he opened the door and didn’t see anyone.

“All of a sudden, somebody had me by my hair and pushed my head against the brick door frame,” Wood said. “There was a sharp feeling around my neck. He was using my hair and this thing around my neck to toss me around.”

Then, Wood said, the man — whom he describes as a big guy, with a muscular build, maybe 6-foot, 2-inches tall, with a abroad nose and sunglasses — shoved his forehead into a mirror just feet from the back door. The man pushed his face into the broken glass. (Later that morning at the hospital, Wood said it would take medical staff sometime picking out the pieces of glass from his face).

“That’s when he told me that I should have kept my fucking mouth shut, and that I had been warned,” Wood alleged. “He got me really good in the kidneys and dropped me to the floor. There was some more punching and one or two kicks.”

WOUNDED: Wood shows the scars of his alleged attack.

Wood said he can’t say whether he passed out, but he doesn’t remember his alleged attacker leaving.

He said the alleged battery lasted no more than a minute or two, but in his mind it felt like forever. Any preconceived notions he may have had about such events, like some preset plan of dashing off and grabbing a gun to drive off an attacker, disappeared. He had no time to think, he said. Only time to panic, to squirm under the weight of a much bigger man — Wood is 5-foot 5 inches, 135 pounds. Time enough to struggle to breathe, to try, and fail, to scream.

Warning signs?

A week before the alleged attack, Wood said his car had been vandalized. Scrawled on the car, he said, were epithets: “Housetrained Republican faggot,” and “You’re like a Jew for Hitler.”

“I’m assuming that was probably my warning,” Wood said.

In recent weeks, Wood, a full-time volunteer for Republican Chad Lee’s congressional campaign, had on Facebook stepped up his arguments why he is a Lee supporter and why he is not supporting state Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Madison, an openly gay candidate running for the congressional seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin, a Madison Democrat who also is openly gay. Baldwin is running for U.S. Senate against Republican former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson.

“That’s not a very popular thing to do in Madison when you’re a gay man,” he said of his advocacy for a GOP candidate.

Wood said responses to his Facebook posts were never threatening, just derogatory. Those commenting asked how he could be so stupid, declared that he “obviously” hates himself, effectively billing him as a traitor to the gay community, Wood said. He calls it “middle school shit.”

None of it was particularly surprising to Wood. He said since the winter 2011 protests against Gov. Scott Walker‘s and fellow Republican lawmakers’ controversial agenda and the divisive recall campaigns that followed, “everybody is getting to a breaking point.”

“It doesn’t matter what side of the fence you’re on. Everyone is fed up, and some people are just taking it too far,” he said.

Wood, who says his only previous political experience was working for the ill-fated Gen. Wesley Clark presidential campaign, says the rising rhetoric over the past several months leads him to believe his political affiliation led to the alleged assault.

He says he had never met his alleged attacker, but the face — at least part — of it stays with him.

“I only got one look at him. He was behind me the entire time. I only saw his reflection in the mirror,” Wood said.  “I finally slept for first time since this happened last night. I kept waking up all night having nightmares, seeing that part of his face.”

No reply, no fear

Investigators had nothing new to report on the case as of late Friday morning, according to Howard Payne, spokesman for the Madison Police Department.

“We’re still working on doing interviews and figuring out what happened, to try to develop a suspect involved in battery,” Payne said. He added that police do not believe the public has anything to be concerned about.

Payne said he could not confirm or deny reports that the FBI is involved.

Wood said he doesn’t consider the alleged attack a hate crime because, as he put it, “a crime is a crime.”

“Whatever the motivation of the crime is, it’s not coming from a good place,” he said. “It shouldn’t matter that I’m attacked because I’m gay or my neighbor next door is attacked because she is a straight woman supporting Chad Lee. It’s a crime.”

Wood said he is offended by the silence from the two usually vocal gay icons in the 2nd Congressional District. Pocan and Baldwin, he said, have historically sprung to the defense of victims of violence in the gay community.

“I find their lack of response maybe not unexpected but lacking decorum,” he said.  “I don’t look for a response from either of them, but from a political standpoint that’s what this race will come down to: do you want to elect someone who is going represent the entire 2nd District or do you want to elect someone who will pick and choose who they want to represent?  That’s what their lack of a statement is telling me, that I’m no longer a person to be represented.”

Wood says he has a quote from Ayn Rand, mother of the school of Objectivism, on his desktop that sums up the silence from Pocan and Baldwin: “The smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights, cannot claim to be defenders of minorities.”

Pocan’s campaign did not return a request for an interview from Wisconsin Reporter.

The Baldwin campaign did not immediately respond Friday afternoon.

Wood said the fear of his alleged attack will be with him for a while, the panic of slammed doors. But he said he has no intention of giving into that fear.

“I’m not going to be bullied into voting for someone just because I fall into the same imagined group as he does,” he said. “I’m going to vote for a representative that votes my values.”

Contact M.D. Kittle at mkittle@wisconsinreporter.com

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Kittle is a 25-year veteran of radio, newspaper and online journalism. In July 2011, Kittle joined Watchdog.org as bureau chief for Wisconsin Reporter. He has spent much of the past three years covering the seismic political changes taking place in the Badger State. Last year, Kittle joined Watchdog’s national reporting team, covering everything from energy policy to governmental assaults on civil rights. Beyond being published in Wisconsin’s daily newspapers and in multimedia news outlets, Kittle’s work has appeared on Fox News, and in Human Events, Reason Magazine, Newsmax and Town Hall. His special investigation into a politically charged John Doe probe, “Wisconsin’s Secret War,” was the basis of a 2014 documentary on Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze. Kittle has made several appearances on Fox News, including “On the Record with Greta Van Susteren. He serves as weekly politics commentator for Lake 96.1 FM in Lake Geneva, and WRJN-AM 1400 in Racine. His resume includes multiple awards for journalism excellence from The Associated Press, Inland Press, Wisconsin Broadcast Association and other journalism associations. Contact Kittle at mkittle@watchdog.org.

  • no_limit_neckbeard

    The compassionate, tolerant, open-minded Oblamer-worshipping Kook Left in action. I hope the thug who beat this man gets put down like a mad dog.

  • http://www.facebook.com/shirleysmartin70 Shirley Strickland-Martin

    this is a terrible crime. the one that did this should be punished. you can vote for who you like . hope you get well very soon.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=597676901 Jeff King

    Praying for you Kyle. Only under a fascist state would a man try to control another’s mind.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/Y7NNRXZN444NBHNMVEX7DTYNI4 Margaret Boucher

    praying for you Kyle, and may God bless you and keep giving you strength.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_UNJMXXWKOGOAZ7TLDRR7SY3HZU Gene Bivins

    Your assumption the assailant was a gay liberal says more about you than about the attacker or the victim. Assumptions don’t prove people guilty–evidence does.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kyle.wood96 Kyle Wood

    this is awkward

  • John

    I am here to say, Hate is Hate, it don’t belong just to Republicans or Dem,
    never should ether party be held responsible, It is a direct result of
    upbringing in a state which is well known for its hate of minorities. One should
    never be surprised. Oklahoma has a big history of hate, one they want the rest
    of the world not to know. Tulsa Okla. 1921. Sad that this happened. How about
    the young Family who put out and Obama sign in their new neighborhood? Life
    threats were made against this ignorant fam the same day. Like I said, hate is
    hate, it is an equal opportunity employer

  • http://www.facebook.com/thomas.onkle2 Thomas Onkle

    I hope you have a speedy recovery. I’m a gay man living in Missouri, and we have had our share of incidents over the years. You have to remember this was just one “man”. He will be caught. I think most Americans don’t resort to this type of violence. Shame on the leaders for not speaking out.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001067631362 Fred J. Statler III

    Prayin’ for you Bro!

  • http://www.facebook.com/dayal.k.das Dayal Krsna Das

    I hope you feel better Kyle. This is shocking but then again, it isn’t.

  • mich

    These fascists dogs should spend 10 years in jail for this!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_X4XRB6M2WEGGTBTCIPUF7FCZBI yorkieczar

    Praying for a full recover Kyle. Please do not open yur door again until you know who is on the other side. I am 5ft zero in my stocking feet so I understand concerns of not being unable to protect yourself. I have a gun which is my equalizer. I suggest you get a gun and learn how to use. Then put a sign on your outside doors stating I DO NOT CALL 911 I OWN A GUN. It worked for me when a child molester broke into my house. My daughter was just 8 years old. Every time he came into my house I pointed to him and yelled IN THE NAME OF JESUS GET OUT OF MY HOUSE NOW! He left every time. He was caught when he broke into a man’s car in our neighborhood. I went to his hearing and when they were taking him away I stood up and ask the judge if I could say something to the defendant. I was allowed to so I told him I have a bullet with your name on it so stay away from my home and my children. He of course acted like he didn’t now what I was talking about. After he left the courtroom the judge ask me if I was serious I told him as serious as sin. The judge said kill him if it happens make it easier on everyone. I also had a Blue Heeler that would have tore him up if I let her. Please be more careful and proactive in your safety. God Bless you Kyle.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tammy.ranabargarpence Tammy W Ranabargar Pence

    you have a right to your own opinion and the U.S.,A is still a democracy…get well

  • http://www.facebook.com/tammy.ranabargarpence Tammy W Ranabargar Pence

    why are they sayinf ‘alleged’ attacker??? Kyle was attacked Ido not believe he would do this to himself

  • http://www.facebook.com/tammy.ranabargarpence Tammy W Ranabargar Pence

    dont feel awkward Kyle just know there are many people that respect your rights and we outnumber those that don’t get well and stay safe

  • Voter

    And you, Gene, assumed that the poster said he was ‘gay’. I sure didn’t infer that from his comment! From what was written on the man’s car, common sense would bring to mind a liberal. Did you READ the article?

  • http://www.facebook.com/gannddr Dave Gann Sr

    Get well soon, Kyle. God bless you. All crime is terrible, no matter what the reason one thinks to misbehave and take it out on another person.

  • http://www.facebook.com/maria.hawleyhughes Maria Hawley-Hughes

    I hope you get well soon. You are man of great courage.

  • Heartland23

    Hang in there Kyle…..your attacker is a pussy….had to hide his face behind sunglasses, couldn’t look you in the face. Someone in the neighborhood must have seen his vehicle or him….he’ll be seeing jail time sometime soon!!

  • Rebecca

    Just because he chooses to vote for someone because of what they stand for is no reason to do this. As a Straight, Gay, or whatever, We have the right to vote and rally for who we want. That is why I don’t vote for one party or the other exclusively. I vote for the person on how they stand on my principles as I see them Not on who or what gender, religion, or anything else. that is how it should be. The Person who did this is not playing with a full deck and has actually hurt his own political standing.

  • http://www.facebook.com/donald.miller.988 Donald Miller

    I certainly won’t pretend to understand why a gay man would support a Party that actively seeks to minimize his worth and deny him and millions of others equal rights….but obviously that is not justified in a physical attack. I don’t agree with or fathom your political stance, but everyone should be entititled to support who they want without violence.

  • trevor

    Excuse me? “EVERY TIME he came into [your] house”? You mean that sick-ass son of bitch SURVIVED the FIRST time he came into your house. You ALLOWED him to LIVE after he came into your house ONE TIME?! What kind of father are you? Oh, you talked all tough in the courtroom, but when you had a chance to blow that sick f*ck away in your living room, you let him live. You don’t have the BALLS to kill someone!

  • http://twitter.com/stanhopesbitch Stanhope’s Bitch

    Openly gay volunteer for the GOP?? Aren’t they the ones that made record lines at Chick Fila?? Gay people are supported by the Democrats more than the Republicans….and Democrats are not as violent as Republicans, or their ‘tea-party’ gangs…so if this sounds kinda ‘fishy’ to you, it does to me, too. I’m not buyin’ it…sorry…. (Unless you’re going to say it was an angry Republican!!) Nice try, though…

  • mardie bryant

    I have an uncle who is much like you, and who is voting for the presidential candidate “who shares his values”, (I loved that about your comment), even if he doesn’t agree 100% on individual issues, and, in fact, he is super passionate about Romney. That is the American way, that is your right, that is what our soldiers fight for – your freedoms. I am very sorry that this happened to you. I can see why it is awkward & I’m sorry about that also – I hope that this will represent an isolated case rather that becoming a central issue of the campaign – for your sake. It is most important to say what is GOOD about the candidate you support than to say something negative about the other guy or any of his supporters. But, apart from that, justice should be served by that guy!! Stay positive & be well soon!!

  • Jackson

    Sound a bit fishey to me self inflicted wounds, Answer the front dorr and does not see anyone but they had HIm then the nighmares report come on folks, seeing the refelection inthe mirror. how scary. And it was a nice touch to get a jab in there about Mormons. I for one do not beleive this report for one minute, this is a cheap political thing.
    Hmmm. when is the last time some “big” guy come to anyone’s front door just because they did not like the political viewws of someone in this country? Ahhh gee I can’t remember any reports.
    Once the truth comes out I wonder how happy he will be in jail with all those big guys??

  • NoMoBo

    I’m a Christian who’s anti-gay marriage. I believe homosexuality is a sin. But what is wrong with a human who would injure another because of his sexual preference? This story turns my stomach. I’ll be praying for you, Kyle, and also praying that justice is done.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002624483728 Hunter Cares

    I’ve investigated a lot of hate crimes. This one has all the signs of being a fake one.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002624483728 Hunter Cares

    First and foremost, it is a standard journalistic practice to use the word alleged, because at this point only an allegation has been made. There’s not been a conviction. If there’s an eventual conviction, then they’ll refer to him as the convicted attacker. It’s especially important to use the word alleged when the identity of someone is arrested. If John Smith is called an attacker in the press and is later to be found innocent, he can sue the pants off the reporters for libel. Secondly, people do fabricate crimes against themselves in order to get attention. It’s not that uncommon.

  • Michelle Bowen

    Kyle, i’m so sorry you had to go through this, i just can’t understand such small minded people that can commit such a terrible crime to another human being!! will keep you in my prayers, stay strong!! so inspirational that you won’t give in to him!! :-)

  • ws13

    Actually we are not a democracy.

  • LadyoftheEmus

    Get well soon Kyle

  • http://www.facebook.com/maremoe Mary Moerles

    This is pitiful. Society has stooped to a new low. It is unacceptable, and whoever is responsible needs to be punished to the fullest extent. Puzzles me who would harbor so much anger inside them to do such a thing. Get well Kyle, not ALL of society thankfully, thinks, behaves or conducts themselves like your lowlife attacker.

  • BP

    I read the article. It reminded of the girl from the last election who scrawled a backwards B into her face and said she was attacked. It also reminded me of that woman who recently said she was the victim of an attack and set on fire and it turned out she’d done it to herself.

  • http://www.facebook.com/elliegiles Elevila Brown Giles

    What a tragedy. Keeping you in my prayers Kyle. Keep the faith. Hope the police catches the jerk who should be thrown in jail.

  • Sagegrouse

    It’s almost a law of human nature that folks who want others’ to discard their prejudices, wish to retain their own.

  • Sagegrouse

    Apparently you see those you want to see as enemies as a monolithic group. You see your friends as individuals.
    Apply the same standards of individuality to both groups and you’ll start to close the gap.
    Pretty scary, huh!

  • Sagegrouse

    Yeah, right.

  • BP
  • wesmorgan1

    Well, folks, it turns out that he apparently “made it up.” He has retracted his statements to the police, and they have, in turn, labeled the case as “unfounded.” Details at http://www.jsonline.com/blogs/news/176338211.html if you’re curious.

    I see that the website that first pushed the story, Media Trackers, lays all the blame on Wood; they don’t seem to have a problem with the fact that they pushed an unfounded, unproven story. They (Media Trackers) claimed to have verified the text messages, but they obviously didn’t; there is no evidence that the messages were ever sent. Media Trackers simply deleted their story from the web.

    One wonders if Watchdog will do a followup, or if that followup will be front-page news on the site…

  • http://www.facebook.com/meli.jegasini Meli Jegasini

    Pretty sad when you have to fear a Democrat. Aren’t they Americans, too? Sounds like they are the Hitler lovers. But then I hear Wisconsin loves Obama so go figure! I hope there are some intelligent people in Wisconsin.

  • Jason Desjardins

    Funny you should say that…

  • Jason Desjardins

    Apparently Kyle disagrees.

  • Jason Desjardins

    “…your attacker is a pussy….had to hide his face behind sunglasses, couldn’t look you in the face”

    There’s a reason for that, actually…

  • Goblin Shark

    ti was faked, the guy is a liar, he wasn’t beaten up for being a gay republican

  • Goblin Shark

    Pretty much what I figured, this whole story is nothing but a lie. The guy has confessed to making up his attack.

  • Goblin Shark

    I agree with you, it is certainly true of my situation, I have prejudices up the ying yang that I don’t want to let go of! But the fact remains that we don’t go out and beat the crap out of our own, usually… that’s right-wing behavior. And of course, this whole story has been proven to be a lie, so there you have it.

  • Goblin Shark

    This guy was making the whole story up, so you can save your sympathy for someone who needs it, like the people whose lives you destroy by opposing same sex marriage.

  • http://twitter.com/jesspborn Jess B

    Needs updating, after they found inconsistencies in his story, he admitted making it up, and has been charged with obstruction.