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Senator's son's investigation wrapping up, political charges heating up

By   /   November 21, 2012  /   No Comments

By M.D. Kittle | Wisconsin Reporter

MADISON — Whitewater police are wrapping up an investigation into the alleged attack on a state senator’s son who claims he was brutally beaten last month by two men who allegedly attempted to steal his Romney-Ryan campaign yard sign, according to the police department’s top cop.

“We are close to closing it,” Lisa Otterbacher, Whitewater’s chief of police told Wisconsin Reporter on Tuesday, adding that she’s hopeful a report on the alleged battery of Sean Kedzie will be released within the next few days.

Meanwhile, Sean Kedzie’s father, Sen. Neal Kedzie, an Elkhorn Republican, described as “despicable” and “repugnant” a liberal activist organization’s claims that the senator’s legislative office wascoordinating communications between his son and the campaign of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney” for political gain days after the alleged battery.

Sean Kedzie, son of state Sen. Neal Kedzie, R-Elkhorn, claims he was attacked by two men who were trying to take his Romney-Ryan yard sign.

Sean Kedzie told police he was attacked on Oct. 19 after he confronted two men — both described as white, one suspect about 6-foot, 195 pounds, and in their early 20s — allegedly taking the political sign from his yard.

The man who Kedzie said took his sign set it down in his yard and, before he knew it, the other man was attacking him. Kedzie said the men wrestled him to the ground, put him in a chokehold and screamed, “Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan suck!” and other politically charged invectives.

“It went from zero to 60 with the flip of the switch,” he told Wisconsin Reporter a few days after the alleged attack.

He sent out photos to the media showing a face with abrasions, including two black eyes.

“I never really stood a chance,” he said. “These guys must have had in their minds what they were going to do when I walked up to them.”

Neal Kedzie, a prominent, outspoken Republican who has served in the Senate for the past decade, on Tuesday told Wisconsin Reporter that his son identified one of the suspects from a photo lineup. Sean Kedzie, according to his father, had heard “the accomplice” call out the name of the alleged main attacker. He declined to disclose the name.

Neal Kedzie said he’s hopeful charges will come out of the investigation.

“I will take the chief at her word, that they will do a thorough investigation,” the senator said. “I am sure they are just as anxious to solve this as we are.”

Otterbacher said she could not release any details of the investigation until the report is filed. She said she wants to avoid having the case tried in the media.

“There are lots of details we can’t release right now that will be released in the report,” the chief said.

As the investigation nears conclusion, One Wisconsin Now, a left-wing organization that asserts it strives to “advance progressive leadership and values,” claimed its “partially filled open records request” finds the state senator’s office “coordinating communications between Kedzie’s son” and Romney’s campaign.

Scot Ross, One Wisconsin Now executive director who served as spokesman for Democrat Kathleen Falk’s failed run in this past spring’s gubernatorial recall primary election, claims the communications raise “not only ethical questions about how Kedzie uses his office, but also about what may have been efforts to inappropriately inflame and inject politics into an unfortunate incident involving the assault of his son.”

While the emails documented by One Wisconsin Now indicate communication between Neal Kedzie staffer Michelle Osdene and Sean Kedzie, there appears to be nothing in the emails that indicate a “coordinated effort” “to inappropriately inflame and inject politics.”

“We got a call from the Romney office. It sounds like the(y) will likely call on Friday, so if you see a restricted number you might want to answer. Thanks!” one of the emails states.

Sean Kedzie told Wisconsin Reporter on Oct. 23 that he did receive a call from U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Janesville, who was Romney’s running mate.

“He said he was thinking about me and that I would be in his prayers. He said he wanted to call and see how I was doing and he wanted to thank me for not backing down and for not being intimidated by these guys,” Sean Kedzie said.

Neal Kedzie called One Wisconsin Now’s accusations “disgusting,” “repugnant,” and “below human dignity to think anyone would politicize a family member’s brutal assault for political gain.” He said anyone who has driven to the hospital “envisioning the worst” would understand.

The senator has reported several acts of vandalism to his home during the past 18 months, including multiple incidents of unknown suspects dumping nails all over his driveway, according to Elkhorn-area law enforcement.

One Wisconsin Now’s Ross appeared to express his concern in the liberal organization’s blog entry.

“The incident with Sen. Kedzie son was unsettling and physical violence is never the answer,” Ross wrote. “In the same vein, Sen. Kedzie needs to answer why his taxpayer-financed office was coordinating communications between his son and a failing political campaign in its final desperate days.”

Contact M.D. Kittle at [email protected]

— Edited by Kelly Carson, [email protected]