During the 2022 election season, our First Amendment rights were literally under attack. Dozens of political signs were destroyed on two properties along N. Superior Ave in Tomah. Our signs were both slashed and run over by a man described as a balding, white male in his 50s riding an electric bicycle with big fat tires. The culprit made his attacks at night under the cover of darkness. Local citizens offered clues as to who was committing these crimes. The Tomah Police Department was very responsive and worked diligently to investigate the events and identify the suspect. Thank you -- Tomah PD. #BackTheBlue
It took a while and many, many of our signs suffered dire consequences but Tomah Police finally had irrefutable evidence and on Friday, October 22, 2022, an arrest was made. The suspect, Edward C Benner, was charged and released.
The American Judicial System is slow and methodical. Oftentimes, the criminal is afforded more rights than the victim. This case took more than a year to work its way through the system. On Wednesday, December 6, 2023, Mr. Benner was judged to be Guilty Due to a No Contest Plea for Criminal Damage to Property.
At the hearing, Mr. Benner said he was truly sorry for the trouble he had caused and would never touch our signs again. I take Mr. Benner at his word. I believe he has learned his lesson. Mr. Benner will pay restitution, court costs, and attorney fees. This case is closed.
Thanks again to the Tomah Police Department, La Crosse District Attorney Tim Gruenke, and Judge Elliott Levine for their roles in ensuring justice was served.