(Warning-This post involves child abuse resulting in deaths. Multiple. It was hard to write and may be hard to read)Originally posted at Daily Kos
If you have been following the events in Wisconsin, you have probably seen this attack ad released by Friends of Scott Walker
"This 2-year-old spent six days in intensive care after being severely beaten," says the Walker ad's narrator. "But Tom Barrett’s police department didn’t consider it a violent crime." The ad then shows crime statistics and asserts "violent crime is up" in Milwaukee. The controversial ad-which has been criticized by the criminologist who was quoted as "misleading"- took center stage at last weeks debate, in one of the most emotionally charged moments of the night:
"He's running a commercial right now that shows a dead baby," Barrett said during the debate. "It shows a picture of a dead baby. This is Willie Horton stuff. That baby died."
"You're running a commercial attacking my integrity, claiming that I had something to do with this, and you know that's false," added Barrett, his voice rising. "You tell me whether you think I had anything to do with that."
Walker began to respond, saying, "No, I'm asking you --" Before he could finish, Barrett cut him off.
"I'll tell you right now, I had nothing to do with that," Barrett said. "You should be ashamed of that commercial, Scott Walker."Like many who watched the debate, I was confused by Tom Barret's statement. The ad states that the child spent 2 weeks in the ICU, but doesn't mention a death. I hoped that he had misspoken. Sadly, he did not.
According to the report by the Journal Sentinel cited by the ad, the child they are referring to is 2 year old Karmari Curtis
MILWAUKEE -- An arrest has been made in the death of a 2-year-old boy brought to the hospital on Saturday April 2nd. The man in custody is the mother's boyfriend, and police said it's not the first time the suspect is accused of abusing the child.
Officers went to an apartment building near 22nd Street and Wisconsin Avenue on Saturday, after the 26-year-old man living there took his girlfriend's 2-year-old son to the hospital.Police said the toddler was pronounced dead at 6:27 p.m. The boyfriend was arrested shortly after.
Monday, no one was at the boyfriend's apartment, where police said the abuse happened, but a neighbor told 12 News there was nothing suspicious Saturday night. "I didn't hear anything," said Rosie Ballard, neighbor. "I was in bed when the police came." Police said it was the same victim, and Benson ruptured the toddler's liver at the same apartment while the child was in his care Oct. 25. 12 News also obtained the no-contact order filed against Benson. His trial was set for this May.
Neighbors said the toddler and his mother did not live at the apartment but would visit frequently. Neighbors didn't see anything unusual when they came this weekend. "Friday night, I maybe heard a little noise, but when I hear bumping or knocking something I pay no attention to it because sometimes it happens," said Ballard.
Police have not said what the child's injuries are as officers continue to investigate, and the department has put a non-disclosure on the medical examiner's report. An autopsy was to be performed today.
The Department of Children and Families released a statement from Arlene Happach, the director of the Bureau of Milwaukee Child Welfare. It reads, "This child's death is a tragedy, and our deepest sympathy is with his family and others who loved him. We are investigating the role of the bureau in this case."So why did the Walker campaign leave out the fact that Karmari was murdered? Granted, it could have been to avoid admitting that they were ghoulish enough to use a deceased child as a political prop-but using a battered one isn't really that much better. And such a horrific murder would certainly play right in to the narrative of a crime-ridden Milwaukee under Tom Barrett.
But perhaps there is another reason why Scott Walkers campaign didn't mention it-Perhaps because it would lead to the fact that, at the time of Karmari's death, he was known to the Bureau of Milwaukee Child Welfare (BMCW)-a state-run agency that Scott Walker was ultimately responsible for overseeing. And perhaps more importantly, the fact that the BMCW was one of the first government agencies subjected to the privatization treatment that Scott Walker is now trying to inflict on the rest of Wisconsin's governmental functions, with disastrous consequences.