Man who disrupted Wisconsin graduation told police he liked superintendent, police report says

The man who disrupted a Wisconsin high school graduation ceremony by storming the stage and stopping the superintendent from shaking his daughter’s hand said he loved the administrator and wanted to stop her ” to have the satisfaction” of shaking his hand, according to a police report. .

Matthew Eddy spoke to Baraboo High School police last Friday night after approaching Baraboo Superintendent Rainey Briggs at the high school’s graduation and pulling him out of a line of administrators greeting the graduates as they received their diplomas that evening, police said.

Baraboo High School Superintendent Rainey Briggs, left, is pushed away from the stage by Matthew Eddy during a May 31 commencement ceremony.Max TV – Baraboo via YouTube

Eddy said he and his daughter had “past issues” with Briggs and didn’t like him, according to a police report.

The incident report provided the only public glimpse of a possible motive. Eddy did not respond to repeated requests for comment this week. Reached by phone Friday, Briggs declined to answer questions. None of them has spoken publicly on the subject.

A school resource officer who spoke to Eddy said in the report that although he took the stage earlier to stop Briggs from shaking his daughter’s hand, Eddy “did not necessarily explain how he was stopping them physically” to interact and “was vague” in answering questions. The school official also said he told Eddy that what he did was unacceptable and that he could have been handled more appropriately.

“It was explained to Matthew that what he had done disrupted graduation for everyone and likely brought unnecessary attention to” his daughter, the police report states.

When asked if he was remorseful for his actions, the report says Eddy told the officer he was, but only for the sake of his daughter, leading the officer to conclude that “maybe it was something he planned to do.”

The police report says Briggs left the school immediately after the graduation ceremony.

The school resource officer spoke to Briggs by phone Monday and said in the report that the superintendent said he didn’t know who Eddy was when he approached him. Briggs told the officer that Eddy’s daughter had been kicked out of school at one point, according to the report, but that he had not directly interacted with the parents regarding the expulsions and did not remember any ‘no other interaction he had had with Eddy nor any reason why Eddy had reacted the way he did.

Briggs also told the officer he planned to obtain a restraining order against Eddy, which he was granted this week. In the temporary order filed Monday in Dane County Circuit Court, Eddy was instructed to have no contact with Briggs. A hearing is scheduled for June 14.

In his petition for the order, Briggs says Eddy “quickly approached the stage and put both hands on me, pushing me away, stating ‘you’re not going to touch my f– —- girl’ “. Briggs said he then “created space” and told Eddy not to touch him again, the petition states. Briggs said Eddy began “pushing and forcing” him and that he reached out with his hands to push Eddy away, according to the petition.

Briggs told an officer, according to the report, that Eddy’s behavior “scared him” because it followed “numerous threats” he had received as superintendent. The report does not provide details on these threats.

The video of Eddy approaching Briggs was widely shared online. Although four school board members and the school principal were also on stage, Eddy only confronted Briggs.

The school district said it takes “this unfortunate event” seriously and is working closely with local law enforcement to ensure a thorough investigation.

The Baraboo School Board said in a statement that it does not tolerate “threatening, intimidating or physically hurtful behavior against anyone in our school district community.”

“The fact that this adult felt encouraged to behave in this manner in front of hundreds of students and other adults should deeply trouble us all; this type of behavior will not be tolerated,” the school board said, adding that it “condemns such acts and calls on the community to take a stand and denounce this type of behavior that threatens the fabric of our democracy.”

Baraboo is 40 miles northwest of Madison and has a population of fewer than 13,000. The population is 90.4% white, according to the most recent census data.

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