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Did Wis. Justice Put Colleague in Chokehold? Prosser Admits Reflexive Neck Touching

Posted Aug 29, 2011 10:24 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser has admitted he touched the neck of a colleague who accused him of putting her in a chokehold, but said it was a reflexive reaction.

Prosser’s admission was among statements by the justices released Friday by detectives investigating the June 13 incident, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports. A special prosecutor announced Thursday that she would not file any charges in connection with the altercation.

According to the Journal Sentinel, “The interviews include cross-claims of justices accusing one another of shouting, slamming doors, being physically threatening and locking their doors at night because of safety concerns.”

Prosser told colleagues that the fracas began during an impromptu argument between two groups of justices in the chambers of Justice Ann Walsh Bradley. According to Prosser’s account, Bradley charged him with her fist raised, and he put up his hands to defend himself.

"Did my hands touch her neck, yes, I admit that. Did I try to touch her neck, no, absolutely not, it was a total reflex," he said. He recalled thinking “Oh my God, I’m touching her neck,” and then pulling back. "What does any self-respecting man do when suddenly that man finds that his hands, or part of his hands are on a woman's neck?” he said. “Get them off the neck as soon as possible."

For her part, Bradley said she confronted Prosser because he was agitated and loud. She said she walked toward him and pointed to the door, telling him, “Buddy, get out of my office.” She admits standing “face to face” with her colleague, but says she never rushed him or raised her fist. She then recalled Prosser’s hands on her neck, although there was no pain or pressure.

Other justices there differed on the details, including whether Bradley raised her fist, punched the air or motioned to the door.

Hat tip to How Appealing.

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