But, that is not the whole story. Eric Pizer was a Marine.
During his four years in the Marines, the 6-foot-2 former high school wrestler and football player excelled, earning two commendations and the rank of corporal.Please read below the fold for more on this story.
Pizer served two tours of duty, one in Kuwait and one in Iraq. During that deployment, he faced peril on refueling missions from bombs hidden along the roads and from rocket-propelled grenades fired into the Al Asad Airbase, where he was stationed.
One night, Pizer said, a grenade hit the wall just outside his tent, blasting him out of his bunk.
The Marine had been home for two days.
On Sept. 18, 2004, Pizer, then 23, was out on the town in Boscobel. After some bar-hopping, he stepped into the middle of a scuffle in an alley between his friend and a jealous husband, trying to break it up.With that one punch Pizer's life changed forever. He was charged and convicted of a felony; he had had no prior incidents, and this was his first offense. In the ten years since that night Pizer has gone on to get an Associates Degree in Criminal Justice. However, as a felon he cannot carry a gun, something he needs to be able to do in order to work in law enforcement. The Grant County DA has refused to reduce the charge so that Pizer could work in law enforcement.
“(They were) poking me in the chest, chest-bumping me, getting in my face ... When (the husband) came at me from my peripheral vision, my side, he said he was going to kill me and I just instinctively reacted ‘cause I couldn’t see his hands. It was a very dark night behind a garage in an alleyway. I couldn’t see if he had something in his hands to stab me with, shoot me with, bash me with. So I just instinctively gave him a right jab.”
That leaves only one option for Pizer, a gubernatorial pardon. In the past one could request a pardon from the governor. It would go to the pardons board for consideration and they would send a suggestion to the governor.
Over the past 35 years, Wisconsin governors, both Republicans and Democrats, have issued 986 pardons, according to the Secretary of State’s office, which tracks pardon grants.But, not Scott Walker. He has not appointed a pardons board and has refused to issue any pardons. He claims they undermine the criminal justice system.
When I first heard of the CPL Eric Pizer I felt that as he was a Marine he should have known better than to throw a punch. But, two tours in war zones have impacted this young man.
Pizer did come back with some scars.After hearing more of his story and the remorse he feels for that September evening in 2004, I feel he deserves a second chance. He has served his country, has been on two combat tours, one of which he volunteered for. This young man gave up his youth to serve in the Marine Corps. Today he works at a big box lumberyard and as a piano mover.
For years, he said, he obsessively scanned the road, seeing possible explosives in every deer carcass and culvert.
To this day, he sits at the back of the restaurant facing the door to make sure he can see what’s coming.
He could do more for the people of Wisconsin, but he is still paying for a split-second decision made two days removed from the Marine Corps and two combat tours.
This is not a Republican Party or a Democratic Party issue. This is about compassion and second chances. One black spot on Eric Pizer's record should not haunt him for the rest of his life. He has paid his debt to society—it is time for Governor Walker to convene a pardons board and pardon Eric Pizer so that he can get on with his life, support his son, and give back to a community in Wisconsin by serving once again with honor on a local police force.