By: Brian Sikma
Democratic state Representative Brett Hulsey of Madison has become mired in controversy after he pled “no contest” to a disorderly conduct charge stemming from a beachfront incident involving him and a 9 year-old boy on July 4. According to the liberal Madison newsweekly Isthmus, Hulsey, alone, waded into the water at Spring Harbor Beach, and allegedly flipped a boy off of an inner tube after the boy splashed water at two nearby girls. Hulsey claims he was concerned about the “potentially dangerous situation” presented by the kid splashing water.
After leaving the water Hulsey proceeded to take pictures of the scene. When the kids said they did not want their picture taken, Hulsey said he deleted the pictures as the parents walked up. But on Thursday morning, Hulsey told Madison radio show host Sly Sylvester that none of the pictures he took included the kids. It was the beautiful July 4 sunset that attracted Hulsey’s attention and caused him to take a few pictures. When asked why he deleted the pictures if the kids were not in them, Hulsey backtracked and said it was possible that perhaps one or two of the kids appeared in the corner of the pictures.
Hulsey’s story – first told to police detectives, then the Isthmus, and finally on Thursday to WTDY radio in Madison – morphed as he faced questions about his weird behavior. For example, Hulsey told police investigators that he never touched the 9 year-old or his flotation device, but neither did he tell them his reason for being involved in the situation was a concern for the safety of the children who were playing along the shore. Asked by Sly Sylvester to solidly deny he touched the boy, Hulsey stammered and admitted he did touch the flotation device.
The police became involved after the mother of the boy called them and asked them to look into the incident. The mother expressed concern about the individual – whom she apparently did not know to be Hulsey – in case he was involved in similar odd behavior in the past or future. Hulsey, who claims to know the boy’s grandparents, accused the Madison Police Department of not getting the facts right in the police report and writing the citation before interviewing him. He has offered no convincing arguments for his decision to not challenge the police findings and subsequent citation.
Hulsey said that if it was his son who was wildly splashing at the beach, his son would have gotten a time out. Hulsey repeatedly said in the WTDY interview that he considers wild, unsupervised splashing by children as something that is potentially dangerous.