The Madison Police Department has arrested a 26-year-old man named Brendan J Oneil for the hit and run that took place on June 21. According to reports he was released on Thursday after posting a $350 bond.
Oneil is alleged to be the driver of a truck that plowed through a crowd around 2 a.m. on June 21 at University Avenue and Frances Street outside Wando’s Bar and Grill.
The hit and run injured a young Black woman, Alize Carter, and sparked days of protest and unrest around the city. Carter has spent the past week recovering from injuries including road rash from being hit and dragged by the vehicle alleged to have been driven by Oneil.
In videos that have been made public, Oneil allegedly accelerated as he approached the crowd and struck Carter. Police subsequently arrived on the scene and, according to reports, pepper sprayed Carter’s brother as he stayed to support her. In MPD incident reports, the Department says that they were simply attempting to move the crowd away from Carter so that paramedics could render aid but the decision to use pepper spray came on the heels of heavy public criticism of the police using the spray during previous protests.
The Cap Times contacted the Madison Police Department early on Friday morning, around 1 a.m., after receiving community reports that Oneil had already been released on bail. The Cap Times spoke to OIC Philips (officer in charge) who confirmed that Oneil had been arrested earlier in the day on charges of Hit-and-Run Causing Injury, which is a misdemeanor.
Madison has been on edge all week during this investigation and subsequent incidents. On Tuesday the arrest of a young community activist, Yeshua Musa, sparked demonstrations against police. On Tuesday night there was widespread destruction of property as two statues downtown were torn down and an unknown individual threw a Molotov cocktail at the City County Building. The Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest of the person responsible for the firebombing.
Early on Wednesday morning, an 18-year-old woman named Althea Bernstein was set on fire by a group of young white men who called her a racial slur while at a stoplight.
Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway denounced the crime against Bernstein amidst increasing cries from the community surrounding a series of hate-based crimes against Black people.
“This is a horrifying and absolutely unacceptable crime that I will not tolerate in Madison,” Rhodes-Conway said in a press release on Thursday. “While we are still learning more about the details, current information suggest this may have been a premeditated crime targeted toward people of color, which makes the incident even more disturbing.”
“This hate crime is one of multiple recent downtown incidents where people’s safety and lives have been at risk. It is completely unacceptable and should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Everybody in Madison deserves to feel safe, and it is up to every single one of us to make that true.”