August 27, 2011

Justice Bradley's speech to the Wisconsin Supreme Court Justices and the nuances of identifying the workplace bully.

Here's the original document, the typed-up speech that Justice Ann Walsh Bradley gave to the assembled Justices 2 days after the so-called "chokehold" incident. As we know from the memos in the police investigation file, page 19, Justice Bradley said "she had typed these notes and rehearsed them like a speech because she wanted to tell the other justices how she was feeling."

In the original document, Bradley identifies "a right to go to my workplace without fear of verbal abuse or physical abuse." This is the workplace bully problem, and it's important, but the question I have is: Who gets to identify the bully?

We know from the investigation file that Bradley suddenly rushed up to Justice Prosser and got in his face. The interviews vary a bit in their emphasis on the speed with which she entered his personal space, but everyone agrees that the physical movement began with Bradley, and Prosser's physical act was a reaction to what she did. Bradley also acted first in identifying the bully, the one who needs to be controlled by the rights that others have to a "workplace without fear." But what if Prosser had acted first and characterized Bradley as the aggressor for rushing at him (with, according to some of the interviews, fists raised)? Then Bradley would have found herself on the receiving end, as the violator of the right she deems important. A right like that, if we are not careful, would empower the most aggressive person in the workplace!

Who gets to frame the story of the workplace bully? A person who fears accusation as the aggressor might opt for a preemptive strike, and that could have been the case here. During the incident, Justice Roggensack pulled Bradley away from Prosser and said, more than once, "This is not like you." Bradley describes herself becoming very emotional. Perhaps she was shocked by her own behavior and self-defensively saw it as in her interest to portray Prosser as the aggressor. From the memo on the Bradley interview, page 34:
Justice Bradley said as she was approaching Justice Prosser on June 13, "I was in control, I knew exactly what I was doing." Justice Bradley said when she approached Justice Prosser, she said to him, "Buddy, get out of my office." Justice Bradley said she remembers specifically saying the word "buddy" to him as she was telling him to leave her office. Justice Bradley recalled this because as she was talking to her daughter about this incident after the fact, her daughter had mentioned how the only other time she heard her use the term "buddy" was three years ago when her daughter and her were in Bangkok, Thailand, in a taxicab. Justice Bradley said the taxicab driver was not taking them where they needed to go so she felt she needed to take control and she remembers saying, "Buddy, you take us back where you picked us up." Justice Bradley said that was the only other time she could remember using the term "buddy". Justice Bradley said, "Buddy puts me in control and them in the diminutive."    Justice Bradley again said she knew exactly what she was doing and saying to Justice Prosser on the evening of June 13, and added, "I intended to do it just the way I did it." Justice Bradley repeated several different times during our conversation with her that she was in control on June 13, 2011 and she knew exactly what she was doing the whole time.

Justice Bradley then said, "This aggressiveness they are trying to spin is not true."
Isn't it interesting that she denied her own aggressiveness right after describing herself as a woman in control and deliberately exercising domination? What if Justice Prosser had felt and acted in a similar way? He would have made a speech focusing on Bradley as the aggressor. He would have said, as Bradley said at the July 15th meeting:
I have a right... to enter my workplace without any fear of verbal abuse or physical abuse...

If I cannot get any assurance from you, the court, that this problem is going to be addressed, then I will go to the outside and take other means. 
Go to the outside and take other means?! Is that a victim seeking the shelter of the protections of the law, or is it the bully trying to instill fear? It's not too clear! But we know that Bradley, in the original incident, deliberately sought control. And in the the June 15th meeting, she also sought control. She had her prepared speech. It was studded with legalisms and warnings. She demanded submission, or else. You don't need to look past her own words to see that.


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orbicularioculi said...

I just read the lady's note to her associates on the bench. It seems rather contrived and poorly written. She seems to be attempting to cover her ass and preempt action against her behavior.

Uncle Frank said...

Roesch, your attempt at armchair psychology at Prosser’s motives ought to start with the incredibly-well-documented evidence that Bradley instigated the physical proximity of the incident, if not the actual contact. Let’s review, based on the evidence: Noldolf said Bradley “walk[ed] swiftly towards Justice Prosser.” Roggensack said Bradley “walk[ed] with rapidity.” Gableman described Bradley as “rushing towards Justice Prosser.”

So, Roesch, if Bradley had nothing but peaceful intentions while sitting at her chair, then one would expect her to simply stay seated and say, “David, would you please leave my office?” Why didn't she take that approach?

Here's the answer: Bradley is an intemperate bully, hell-bent on creating a confrontation and then lying about it to make herself appear the victim.

roesch-voltaire said...

Revised:What strikes me as odd in this Rashomon-like case are the physical claims. If Bradley was flailing her fists or fist in Prosser face, rather than just pointing towards the door with her left hand as some have claimed, why was Prosser reflex not to push the hand away from his face? By not defending himself that way, but instead reaching for Bradleys neck would mean he would reach forward into her fist. But this did not happen according to all accounts leaving me to conclude that there was no fist in Prosser's face and indeed Bradley was pointing towards the door. This leads me to believe that perhaps Prossers' real reflex was to choke Bradley-- perhaps to choke her speech?. That action and his missing thumbs claim which ignores that they are attached to his hands, which he admits could feel the warmth of Bradley's neck, makes me question his motives and testimony. All of us in Wisconsin have witnessed Prosser's temper and reflexive choke hold to silence those who would question him: he grabbed the mic away from the Fox News reporter forgetting he was on camera and not just audio. There seems to be a pattern here, but I do not know if it is criminal at this point-- just bizarre.

Alex said...

roesche - grabbing a mic = chokehold. Thanks to know 'ya moron.

oldav8r said...

Is this where we've come? Chronological adults accusing each other of bullying, like school children. Run! Tell the principal! That will teach 'em! My God, the country's in the best of hands. (h/t to Glenn)

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