A Democratic state legislator in Wisconsin has pled no contest to disorderly conduct charges, following a bizarre encounter at a Madison-area beach with a nine-year-old child on the Fourth of July.
Police cited State Rep. Brett Hulsey (D-Madison) for allegedly toppling the boy off of an inner tube after the child was splashing two girls in the lake, The Daily Page reported. Hulsey admitted having an altercation with the child, telling Wisconsin radio host Sly Slyvester Thursday morning that he was worried that danger could occur as a result of the splashing.
"I was concerned about a potentially dangerous situation with this wild child splashing these two little girls," Hulsey told Slyvester.
Slyvester seemed surprised by Hulsey's characterization of the boy as a "wild child" and asked Hulsey whether the two girls were screaming or otherwise seeking assistance to get away from the splashing. Hulsey said the girls were not screaming for help.
The Daily Page reported that the Madison police said that the child's parents witnessed Hulsey touch the boy and the inner tube to topple him into the lake, a charge Hulsey denied to Slyvester. Hulsey said that when he arrived at the lake after a day of campaigning he witnessed the splashing and told the boy to stop splashing. Hulsey told the Madison State-Journal that "his father instinct kicked in" when he asked the boy to stop splashing.
After a swim, he saw the splashing continuing and saw no parents around. Hulsey told Slyvester as he was leaving the lake he passed the boy and said "boo" causing the boy to fall into the lake.
"I came back and the youngester is still wildly splashing, I thought it was a dangerous situation," Hulsey said on the radio. "A child splashing at a beach without supervision is a potentially dangerous situation."
Hulsey also told Slyvester that he did not take a photo of the boy, saying that he wanted to take a photo of the sunset and a sailboat and the child was not in the photo. He did indicate that when the child's father asked him not to take a photo he deleted the photo.
Hulsey took issue with the local police, saying the report said that two officers questioned him and took notes but Hulsey claims that they did not take notes. Hulsey also confirmed to Slyvester that he has known the child's grandparents for 14 years, which the The Daily Page also reported. The incident has earned Hulsey criticism from a conservative political blog in the state, mediatrackers.org.
Hulsey is a first-term state representative in Wisconsin, after being a long-time Dane County supervisor. A former elementary school parent-teacher organization president, Hulsey currently serves on the tourism, energy and natural resources committees. Earlier this month, Hulsey expressed concern to The Huffington Post that the National Conference of State Legislators was taking a more conservative tone in its positions and speakers at annual conferences. He cited NCSL inviting convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff to speak about ethics as an example.