By Dylan Deprey
When State Senator Lena Taylor asked for a superior about bad customer service during an early April visit at the Wells Fargo on Wisconsin Ave., she thought she was asking for accountability from the staff, not a month-long firestorm from political and media entities.
After Milwaukee police, an alleged racial slur and a citation were involved, Taylor’s question regarding a status of a tenant’s check had eventually gained national attention.
The police report was released to local media before the MPD review was complete, and Taylor was given a $195 disorderly conduct ticket.
The report stated that the bank teller and several witnesses heard Taylor call the worker a “good house (N-word).”
Taylor said there were several discrepancies in the report, which included the alleged racial slur and the way she was portrayed.
“I said ‘A good house Negra,’” Taylor said during a press conference May 9. “The report made it sound like I used the N-word.”
Taylor said the term, “Negro” has many variations in the Black community. She added that during the incident, she was expressing her disappointment in the bank teller for not giving his superior’s information.
“I’m saying, ‘it’s not ok young man,’ even if your boss tells you to do something wrong,” Taylor said.
She added that the surveillance video and the officer’s body camera footage also showed a different story than told in the police report.
Wells Fargo surveillance cameras first showed Taylor unhappy with the employee and later being confronted by an MPD officer. The report claimed she was yelling and waving her arms and pointing towards the employees behind the desk. The officer claimed in report that he stepped in between Taylor and an employee in fear that she would strike them.
The surveillance video doesn’t show Taylor attempting to threaten or even raise her hands at employees.
“He can’t call her that and imagine the fireworks from the other direction,” the officer stated during the exchange with a Wells Fargo employee.
Taylor said that being an outspoken Black woman and demanding accountability was characterized as anger during the exchange.
Nearly a month after the bank incident, a Human Resources complaint from a former employee was released.
The complaint claimed Taylor had harassed/discriminated the employee on the basis of their disabilities and light skin color, retaliated for not assisting with prior campaign election, retaliated against FMLA leave and bullied employees and staff.
The report stated that it found violations of FMLA and bullying, which consulted Taylor to antibullying and interpersonal communication training.
Taylor was then removed from her 15-year-seat at the Joint Committee on Finance after allegations of bullying an employee and discrimination.
“The complaint was made by a disgruntled employee who was both unable and in some instances unwilling to meet the requirements of the Madison based position, to include reporting to the state Capitol. Corrective measures were rebuffed or deflected with claims of unfair treatment. Furthermore, the employee received an $80,000 taxpayer-funded “no show, no work” arrangement for nearly a year for a process that should have been concluded in eighty days according to the Senate manual,” Taylor stated in a press release.
While surrounded by community advocates and supporters during a press conference, Taylor said the entire situation was blown out of proportion and that she would continue her fight in the legislature.
“I’m still Senator Taylor, and I still represent the 4th District,” Taylor said. “I still will be fighting for women and people in my community, and I still will be standing up against discrimination and minorities in this state.”