Former State Representative Mandela Barnes has announced that he’ll be a Democratic candidate for Lt. Governor. But Barnes continues to be dogged by allegations that he assaulted protester and videographer Miles Kristan in 2015. Kristan says Barnes assaulted him after he asked a question about Barnes’ vote on the new Milwaukee Bucks arena. At that time, Kristan released a roughly two minute video showing his confrontation with Barnes. More recently, Kristan has released a video detailing the incident and another that happened in 2017 involving Barnes and Democratic State Representative Daniel Riemer.
In the original video, Kristan noted that Barnes voted to use the public’s money to fund the Bucks arena, and approached him asking “should Wisconsin taxpayers pay for a Bucks arena.” While Barnes acknowledged that he did vote for the bill, he didn’t comment further and instead replied, “can you ask me in a different setting.” Later, as Kristan is walking down State Street in Madison, he claims that Barnes came out of a nearby restaurant and told him that if he ever embarrassed him like that again he “would F*** me up.” Kristan turned his camera on, described being pushed by Barnes, then asked onlookers if they witnessed what had happened, and they verbally affirmed the situation. Kristan also included CCTV footage of the incident in his most recent video.
When the incident happened in 2015 it received minimal coverage, with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel briefly covering it in an article in October 2017 regarding Barnes potentially running for Lieutenant Governor. In the article it noted Barnes’ reaction to the original video clip:
He said the Republican Party was libeling him and attempting to characterize him as “a scary black man.”
“Race-baiting helped get them a president, of course they’ll use it to protect a failing governor,” he later posted on Twitter, referring to President Donald Trump and Gov. Scott Walker.
The more recent video shows another incident that occurred at a political function at the High Noon Saloon in early 2017. Kristan again asked Barnes about his vote on the Bucks Arena. This time, Riemer was recorded allegedly taking the camera away from Barnes. In the video Kristan alleges that Rep. Riemer, “ripped the camera out of my hands and refused to give me back my camera.”
In both instances Barnes refused to comment on his vote. Kristan ends the video with a statement about the lack of media attention about the incident:
“These men physically pushed me, ripped my camera out of my hands, and violated my rights, but this story has been mostly ignored because they are politicians and I am just a citizen.”
Both Barnes and Riemer have not responded to emails or calls from Media Trackers seeking comment on Kristan’s latest video.