A year after Capitol Police Chief David Erwin vowed to crack down on protesters at the Capitol, there is no sign of a resolution to the conflict.

Singers who oppose Gov. Scott Walker’s administration continue to flout state rules requiring them to obtain a permit, while police continue to make arrests.

But experts question whether the police strategy is productive — especially after the recent arrests of a woman who said she was an observer, two journalists and a man who was wrestled to the ground by police resulting in an officer’s injury.

“Many police administrators look at this situation and are scratching their heads,” said Michael Scott, a UW-Madison law school professor and expert on police procedures. “The protests had dwindled down to nothing. Why would you fan the flames and get it cranked up again?”

The police scuffle with protester Damon Terrell on Monday drew more attention to Tuesday’s Capitol protest as Dane County Sheriff Dave Mahoney and Madison Fire Chief Steve Davis attended as observers.

Terrell’s brother, C.J. Terrell, who also was arrested Monday, said that videos of the altercation show the officer hurt his own hand during the incident and that the tentative battery charge against his brother won’t stand.

“The court will prove that and the lawsuit coming after will prove it further,” C.J. Terrell said.

Lawyers representing other ticketed protesters also questioned the arrests of Nora Cusack, a woman holding a sign identifying herself as an observer, and journalists Matt Rothschild, editor of the Progressive Magazine, and radio show host Dominic Salvia.

The Department of Administration, which oversees Capitol Police, has said officers will only arrest active participants.

“Many, many of these citations (are going) to be unlawful and lawyers like me are going to make some money,” said Jeff Scott Olson, who is representing Salvia.

Conley ruling latest trigger

In August 2012, Erwin pledged to “to make this building where it is something all the citizens can enjoy, not just a select few.”

In the months following, some protesters received citations, many of which were dismissed. But the latest standoff between police and protesters accelerated after a ruling from federal judge William Conley, who temporarily struck down the state’s policy requiring groups of four or more who gather in the Capitol to get a permit. Conley otherwise let stand the policy for groups of 20 or more.

The July 9 decision prompted Capitol Police to begin physically arresting the singers whenever 20 or more gather. Since the arrests began July 24, police have issued more than 320 citations, mostly for demonstrating without a permit.

Erwin has declined repeated requests to answer questions about how Capitol Police are handling the protests. Walker has also turned down interview requests, referring questions to DOA. Scott said it would help the public better understand the position of the Capitol Police if officials would clearly explain why some participants in the protests are arrested while others are not.

A DOA spokeswoman has said protesters will get a permit if they apply.

Protesters say the state and federal constitutions guarantee their ability to gather without one — even though courts have held that governments can regulate the time, place and manner of demonstra-

tions.

Conley has set a trial on the permitting requirement for January.

First Amendment debate

Scott and other experts on crowd control say governments can regulate public gatherings, but they also have to balance free-speech interests.

In recent decades — especially after clashes between police and Vietnam War protesters in the 1960s — police across the country have become more willing to accommodate political protesters so long as they aren’t endangering safety or causing a disruption, Scott said.

Handcuffing protesters should always be a last resort, Scott said, and there appears to be no reason to handcuff arrested singers.

In cases of mass protest, such as the Solidarity Singalong, a police agency’s first strategy should be to communicate with the protesters to broker a peaceful resolution, said Terry Gainer, Sergeant-at-Arms for the U.S. Senate since 2007 and a former U.S. Capitol police chief.

“You’re never going to arrest your way out of a problem,” Gainer said. “Arresting people and being harsh on protesters does nothing but make the police the target of the disruption.”

Gainer, whose first assignment as a Chicago police officer was the 1968 Democratic National Convention that saw violent demonstrators arrested, said it’s good to have rules, but police have discretion to enforce them and “drawing lines in the sand is not a good thing.”

Unlike his predecessor, Charles Tubbs, and current chief deputy Dan Blackdeer while he was interim chief, Erwin has not attempted to communicate with the singers directly, according to protesters and their lawyers.

Former Madison Police Chief David Couper, who has written books about policing protests, said the only way to resolve the current situation would be for Erwin to start a dialogue to explain the state’s position and allow the protesters to be heard.

I cover state government for the Wisconsin State Journal.

You might also like

(88) comments

array1
array1

Attended for the first time today. The "republican women of Jefferson county" (all 3 of them) reserved the floor today so everyone was outside. Beautiful weather and quite a crowd, lots of children also. I fun way to spend lunchtime. Recommended for sure.

Mr Mellow
Mr Mellow

I wonder if this will prove to be a trend. Republican groups and 'fellow travellers' reserving the rotunda, forcing the Singers outside. Walker working a squeeze play?

milton's fried man
milton's fried man

Went to the singalong yesterday. Was easy to pick out the infiltrator undercover guy fingering folks to be grabbed via text message. The singing itself was great. I again wondered if walkers/Erwin's strategy is to get people mad enough to attack the cops or at least look bad on camera for the propaganda it might provide. Also I think it serves a useful purpose inhardeing the hearts of the cops so when walker / Erwin goes to pepper spray and rubber bullets the cops will feel good about it. Do not engage in any yelling or messing with The cops. Remain polite and went the DCI or FBI finally sends In agent provocateurs it will be obvious who they are.

Norwood44
Norwood44

Here's what the protesters and their supporters don't understand. Walker has done polling. He knows that the more noise the protesters make, the better it is for him in the next election. The protest headlines tie the Dems to the unions. Walker WANTS the Singer headlines because it's bad for Dems. It plays well outside of Madison. And the Dems lack a narrative for the 90% of voters who aren't in government unions. The protests simply reinforce that point. The Dems need a post-union message. Walker is making sure they don't develop one and continue to be inextricably linked to the WEAC and AFSCME, which has proven to be a winning strategy for him. Pretty smart for someone with only a high school degree. Pretty dumb for all the college grads who mock him. This also explains who so few Dems are standing in line to oppose Walker. They do polling too. Here's hoping a smarter, new, post-union Dem Party arises soon. Walker should be challenged. The Koch money is every bit as dirty as WEAC money. Both should be purged from the process.

array1
array1

I disagree with the republican mandate that one would need to secure a permit to be present at the capitol at noon in support of the singers or to voice concerns about the government. I oppose the steady erosion of citizens rights dealt us by our politicians over the past several years and that is why I plan on attending.

Norwood44
Norwood44

Of course you disagree with Walker. But what you see as erosion of rights others see as a good thing. The elections have born out that fact. Hence, the protests work at cross purposes to your preferred long term outcome. But...sing away. It's your right to challenge the permit regulation. Even though permits aren't really the issue.

bluffsinview
bluffsinview

If Walker was "Unintimidated" he would have had the courage to sit down with the protesters a long time ago and listen to their concerns. Even Nixon did that during the Vietnam protests. Walker has no courage, no integrity, and no conscience. His only goal is to further his political career and if that isn't obvious to his supporters they haven't been paying attention.

Traderjoe
Traderjoe

Only in Madison ......Nearly half of all states DO NOT ALLOW ANY protests inside their Capitol . Of the 26 states that do allow protesters to rally inside their Capitol buildings, all but six require some form of permit to hold even a small demonstration.

witness2012
witness2012

TJ, maybe you should move to one of those states that has policy closer to what you are most comfortable with.

Wisconsin, though, is not one of those other states. Our tradition and history has always encouraged citizen participation and expression. It would be a shame to lose what has been an important part of state political culture because on one governor who can't tolerate people disagreeing with him.

North Korea also has a nice "controlled" political environment. Maybe you could consider moving there, too.

Traderjoe
Traderjoe

Here is the problem with your statement . I have lived and voted in Wisconsin my entire life. I voted for Walker (2x) along with the MAJORITY of the rest of the state. So my views are a reflection of the MAJORITY of the rest of the state. You cannot loose what you never had. These are not new policies at the Capitol. Again , grow up, get over yourselves, follow the permit process or move to a lefty state where you can be amongst the comrades you are comfortable with.

idunoe
idunoe

If these are not new procedures at the Capitol, why weren't they enforced during the budget hearings a few years ago? If you are referring to that 1979 law, it was never used, so never contested according to the Constitution. That is WI Constitution, not the US or 26 other states constitution. And Walker was never elected with majority of Wisconsinites. He did get a majority of voters.

Mr Mellow
Mr Mellow

“Many police administrators look at this situation and are scratching their heads,” said Michael Scott, a UW-Madison law school professor and expert on police procedures. “The protests had dwindled down to nothing. Why would you fan the flames and get it cranked up again?”

Scratch no more, this isn't about policing. Walker decided he wanted to crackdown on the Singers to show he can't be intimidated by "lefties" and "unions." This also gave him the chance to sound reasonable with his "I don't mind protesters, they just need to get a free permit like everybody else." Neat trick Scottie, burnishing your law and order cred with the Tea Party, and your anti-union zeal with his rich corporate backers, while getting to pretend to Wisconsin voters that you are a reasonable moderate.

Of course things in the rotunda haven't always gone Walker's way. Having his cops threaten to arrest tourists turned out to be bad optics when that photo showing vest-clad "tourists" asking not to be arrested appeared around the state. When that happened, Walker quietly scurried away, leaving a low-level DOA spokesdrone to refuse comment.

The arrests at the rotunda will stop when Scott Walker decides they are no longer paying political dividends. And when that happens he'll either say nothing or claim victory.

epic
epic

What is the game plan if Walker prevails in the next general election? I mean, he has won two recently. Will it be the same old song? The singers remind me of the Pickens People that used to follow Governor Dreyfus around.

stranger55
stranger55

Epic, why would anything need to change from the singers' perspective? They are getting more attention than they ever could have hoped in their wildest dreams, because Scott Walker/Chief Erwin have decided to make it front page news every day. It looks like the bozos can't stop arresting people now; I suppose because it would be tantamount to an admission of failure. It is amusing to me how much more embarrassing this becomes for Scotty and the Chief with every veteran, child, grandmother, reporter, firefighter, alderman, (insert the next embarrassing arrest here) they arrest.

aspire
aspire

UH, embarrassing for who. Surely its the screachers. They're a laughing stock all over the country now.

Norwood44
Norwood44

stranger. You talk as if the unions didn't lose two elections and their opposition to ACT 10 legislation. You also act as if the unions haven't lost half their membership. If you are truly a union partisan, you need to address the fact that you have failed miserably. Mocking Walker is the last thing you should be doing. Instead, you should be thinking about how he has outsmarted you politically at every turn and come up with a more effective strategy. Do some research. Find out if the Singers are helping your cause instead of spouting third rate hearsay and bias opinions. You might start by talking to voters instead of each other.

stranger55
stranger55

I'm unclear on your comment, Norwood; who is "spouting third rate hearsay and bias (sic) opinions"? Me? Or some imaginary group of people you are incorrectly including me with? You and Walker would like this singing phenomenon to just be about unions, so that you can make them out to be the 'enemy of the people" that Walker (and the millions of rich peoples' dollars that back him) have convinced so many citizens that they are. I am not a union person - I have been in management for 15 years. I haven't set foot in the capitol building since 2008. I'd be afraid to, now.

idunoe
idunoe

Any one else think that this is a purposeful ploy by the governor to enable his "tough on crime" credentials? After all, if you continue to do the same thing and expect different results, that is an act of insanity. You now have police professionals speaking that these tactics have been discounted in the 60s as ineffectual at stopping protests. You have a year long example in your own front door. So either Walker is either arrogantly stupid (jury is still out) or there is another agenda. His best move at the moment as I see it is to personally hand each protester a personally autographed book of his "Unintimidated" A book signing in the middle of the rotunda at noon. "Dear Granny, nice singing, now get out of my place of work!(sic) And yes I do have a wonderful Fantasyland mind.

PapaLorax
PapaLorax

so the police are insane but the protesters aren't (by your definition). They are continuing to petition their government and fail....and they continue.

idunoe
idunoe

Gee Papa, I thought I had a Fantasyland mind, but I bow to my champion. I said nothing about the police. And sometimes mental health workers have to work for a long time to achieve results.

milton's fried man
milton's fried man

Pappy iz nutzo an he hate amurika too

G Gordon
G Gordon

As a frequent singer in the rotunda, I appreciate this article by Mr. DeFour. It includes opinions from a wide variety of outside experts and does a good job of explaining the practical impossibility of suppressing dissent by brute force.

That being said, readers need to know that the position of most of the singers regarding permits is not as simple as saying that the state and federal constitutions guarantee their ability to gather without one. The Wisconsin Capitol is not just another office building. The rotunda was designed and built as a public forum, a fact that Judge Conley acknowledged in the same temporary injunction that prevents the DOA from requiring permits for events expected to draw fewer than 21 people. The rotunda is not just where citizens are “allowed” to peacefully voice their grievances, it’s where they are encouraged to go when they want to peaceably assemble to petition the government, a right guaranteed in the Wisconsin constitution, a right that Article 1, Section 4 says can never be abridged. "Never" is a pretty definitive word,even after lawyers get a hold a of it.

In addition, there is no such thing as a “free” permit under the Walker administration. Users must agree to a recently drafted, 25-page legal document that gives the DOA carte blanche to charge the signer any amount after the event for police and maintenance costs, and to deny future permits to anyone who refuses to pay for any inflated or fictitious charges. The DOA made the claim in federal court that they rarely charge anyone, but does anyone really believe that this ultra-partisan, divide-and-conquer administration will not abuse their power to “stick it” to the singers? The Capitol Police have already shown that they are willing to brutally assault a young man who was observing and photographing the singers, arrest other observers and journalists, and allow a handcuffed 70-year-old military veteran to fall on a dimly lit staircase because they were in a hurry to hustle him down to the basement and away from the cameras. Of course they will lie about damage to the Capitol. They’ve already done it numerous times.

For all those who say the singers should just get a permit, how is that better than what happens now? The singers gather inside when there are no scheduled events in the rotunda. If there is an event scheduled indoors, the singers gather and sing outside. If the singers were to reserve the space with a permit for every day between now and 2015 (or beyond), they would be denying the space to all the other people who want to use it for their events. The singers don’t want to deny access to others.

There is not going to be a final ruling by Judge Conley until well after the full trial (which is scheduled for January, 2014.) At that trial, it is the Walker Administration that will have the burden of showing that their permit scheme serves a compelling, narrow government interest, allowing them to restrict the free speech rights of Wisconsin citizens who want to peacefully petition their government in the space that was built for that very purpose. The burden is on Walker, not the singers or anyone else. If the hearing that led to the temporary injunction is any indication, Walker will have a very difficult time justifying what he and his former bodyguard, Chief Erwin, have been doing in the people’s chamber.

PapaLorax
PapaLorax

What you fail to ever accept is your fallback then is no rules -- if you don't have to follow the rules...why does anyone have to follow the rules? If you don't like the permit rules - what rules are ok?

Is that what you want - a free-for-all at the capitol? Just because your group hasn't been a problem, the issue is how could the police enforce any rules against a different group? That would be a huge issue as well.

You want the capitol to be your place for 5 hours a week...what if a different group wants it 40 hours a week? Is that too much?

G Gordon
G Gordon

Based on my comment it's clear that what I really I want is a free-for-all in the rotunda, and by not applying for an unconstitutionally required permit, I would have magically made all other laws and rules null and void. Curse you, you have exposed my evil plan.

Mr Mellow
Mr Mellow

The USA was founded by patriots protesting unjust laws, tariffs, and rules. Their "fallback" was a new nation based on the will of the people. Compared to the patriots, the singers's demands are extremely modest: Respect Our Rights.

Say, isn't that what the pro-gun crowd demands?

witness2012
witness2012

PL, is that an issue? Is anyone asking for that? Stop with the extreme hypotheticals and deal with the actual situation.

dominicsalvia
dominicsalvia

I have the right to petition my government. As an individual, i do NOT need a permit to petition my government. Do I lose my right to petition my government when Capitol Police Chief David Irwin decides on his own that I, as an individual petitioning my government, am part of a 'group' of other individuals exercising their right of petition simultaneously?

As the Access Policy is currently enforced, individual protesters, observers, spectators, visitors, tourists, legislators, and YOU can all be lumped into the same 'group' at the Chief's whim and this administration will stifle your petition rights.

That is not OK under any administration and must be addressed or it will set a dangerous precedent for future administrations.

I (regretfully) voted for Walker in the recall..and I was arrested as non-participation working media.

#dom

Norwood44
Norwood44

Ummm. Just a guess, but it might be the courts who get to make that ruling. They actually are experts in the law and interpreting the Constitution. It's what they do.

TheRestOfTheStory
TheRestOfTheStory

I'd say that the courts are as politically motivated as the Legislature. The courts used to be non-political and follow the interpretation of the Constitution but now we see from the Supreme Court down to Prosser that this isn't so any more. Times have changed, even for the courts.

Norwood44
Norwood44

So, if you disagree with the courts, then they are wrong? The courts are only good when the support your political position?

G Gordon
G Gordon

Yes, government experts are never wrong, especially judges, who have no biases, no social constraints, and no motivations other than pure goodness. They are like gods, really.

Norwood44
Norwood44

G Gordon...so you should be free from any law enforcement or judicial oversight because you, and you alone, have ruled that you are right? Is that your position?

pikerover
pikerover

So Nor you agree that "Corporations are people too , my friends"??

array1
array1

Hopefully more and more people will appear at the capitol at noon, I certainly intend to when able. I do not support the conservatives, I do support the singers and have every right to be there without a permit. As I am not part of the group I can not legally be arrested.

Migraine
Migraine

Contrary to the headline... The end is in sight.

cyberdigr
cyberdigr

Way to go Erwin. What's next? Attack Dogs? Fire hoses? Billy clubs? During the pranked Koch phone call Walker bragged about having a bat in his office. Maybe Erwin and the Gov can break some knee caps together. What a way to bond! Tackle and shackle more of those Solidarity Singers and show them they nor any other citizen in this State nor anyone who dares to enter the Capitol Building has any freedom of speech.

Dode
Dode

The fools keep breaking the law, they will keep getting arrested. Seems like common sense to the educated. And for those that want to say that these are just Walker's rules they are breaking, does the same apply to us when it comes to 0bamacare's rules? The IRS rules? TSA rules? The federal government has lots of rules that are enforced at gunpoint. Will we have to do the same to get these malcontents to stop their temper tantrums and protect our capitol?

motherlode
motherlode

YEAH! THE NEWS!!!!!!

jackjones
jackjones

Nowood, what does union busting have to do with MY 1st Amendment right to peaceful protest? NOT A DAMN THING. You've had an anti union hard on for years here and it's waaaaay off target in this case. Guess what? State employees unions are gone and Walker continues to divide and destroy the greatest state in the Union. Meanwhile, you're still seething about Madison Prep. GET OVER IT.

Norwood44
Norwood44

unions aren't gone. they're in the rotunda every day. I am not seething about anything. It is you who seems to be seething with your angry accusatory post.

Jambalaya
Jambalaya

Chief Erwin needs to go back to police school. Anyone with an ounce of sense could have told him his actions would escalate a totally peaceful innocuous protest of retirees singing songs. And he hasnt even attempted to communicate with anyone. How odd. Erwin is clueless. And we just gave him a big raise. incompetence appears to be rewarded in the Walker administration.

timbo
timbo

How about, “A year later, no end in sight to protesters’ flouting permit law”

Norby
Norby

There is no permit "law", only a questionable permit "rule". Big difference between a law and a rule. Look it up!

witness2012
witness2012

hasn't been a year. The new 'emergency" permit rules were just put in place in April.

jowms
jowms

A couple of bus loads of school kids make more noise than the singers. So what's the real issue?

truthzeeker
truthzeeker

whiteflight....interesting name? Based on your comments you believe a few should gather all the nuts and the rest can fend for themselves. I'll bet you voted for Walker. Right?

Norwood44
Norwood44

Voters finally told these people "No". They can't get over it. They demand to be special. They aren't. That is the beauty of democracy.

Comment deleted.
human
human

Why not just declare martial law, suspend habeas corpus, and shut down the newspapers?

And cancel future elections, while we're at it, and declare Walker Governor for Life!

whiteflight
whiteflight

I have an idea. If you vote liberal your tax dollars go where you want. For example a worthless social program or windmill farm. If you vote republican you dictate where your tax dollars go. It might be intersting just how lopsided an election could be. Keep in mind you will get taxed out of your home if you vote left. If you vote right you will keep more money and have nicer roads.

TheRestOfTheStory
TheRestOfTheStory

We can easily see your bias here. "worthless social program or windmill farm"

So you don't believe in helping others or promoting non-polluting energy. How enlightened and compassionate Republican of you.

And then, "if you vote right you'll have nicer roads". Never mind that cars are the biggest polluters and that the private companies that build roads are the largest local contributors to Scotty. I mean, why bother to keep any of that in mind?

iponder
iponder

It is embarrassing to be a Badger. Erwin is nothing more than a hired gun who received an illegal .merit raise and now needs to do what he is told.

Nav
Nav

Thanks Norwoood44. Scott Walker is the Executive, and the buck stops at his office.

I am sure he will say something when HE thinks is the most opportune time for him. But the people have the right to hear from him as this is unfolding.

This would be like if President Obama today ordered strikes on Syria, but referred questions from reporters to the Army or the State Department. HE is the Executive and so HE would have to answer questions about HIS policies.

Norwood44
Norwood44

I agree completely. It is his great failing as a leader. And it will cost him if the Dems can run a solid, moderate, fiscally responsible candidate against him. But Nav, respectfully, that candidate cannot run on rescinding ACT 10 and expect to be elected. Won't happen.

TheRestOfTheStory
TheRestOfTheStory

Norwood, let's see if you delete this post in a fit of rage like my last reply to you....

I disagree with you again. Act 10 is an issue on the basis of HOW it was passed. Especially in light of the fact that Scotty didn't run on this happening and bulldozed it down the mouth of everyone despite the number of public protests. It's what brought about the recall attempt. And now he wants to apply it to the police and firefighters who 'would' have voted for him since he left them out of the fallout of this law.

Walker has no chance to be re-elected. Won't happen.

PapaLorax
PapaLorax

agreed - I don't see him doing any better then the recall...which he also had no chance of winning. Let me guess - you know no one who voted for him?

Norwood44
Norwood44

Rest of Story. I didn't delete your post to me. That is done by the webmaster. So there's that. As for ACT 10, voters rejected the recall. The courts rejected the case against Walker. Elections matter. If Dems run a Falkian candidate again, they'll lose again. The old union model was unjust and purchased by millions and millions of dollars of cash over the last several decades. We need a new model for state workers that is fair to both them and taxpayers. The old model wasn't. Government workers shouldn't receive special treatment denied average citizens, no matter how much cash they throw around.

koala
koala

Every day that the jackboot tactics continues is a black eye for Walker. In a state that is narrowly divided on partisan grounds, and in which there are a number of moderate voters – leaving aside the dyed in the wool R's and D's - Walker can ill afford that. His political capital is slowly bleeding away among the moderates, and his enemies are enraged. I hope that even Walker partisans can recognize that truth.

Norwood44
Norwood44

Koala. For what it is worth, the protesters don't appeal to moderates either, especially outside of Madison.

LiLa
LiLa

Norwood: Yes they do.

Comment deleted.
jackjones
jackjones

take away every gun in the state....raise the beer tax.....make slovenly uneducated pigs like you kneelat the trough.

Ataube
Ataube

The United States Constitution explicitly provides for 'the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances'" in the First Amendment. Singing is exercising this first amendment freedom.
If you believe and support the right to keep and bear arms, in the second amendment, or any other constitutional rights, it's hard to see how you wouldn't support the singers. Hypothetically, when we pick and choose freedoms we like and not others, we do ourselves a disservice. Who then gets to define which rights we enforce?

ginrummy
ginrummy

So if a group of people assemble in the cafeteria of a grade school and peaceably sing songs about how bad Obama is everyday at noon do you think that would be tolerated? It does meet the guidelines of the constitution.

If it's so cut and dry in the constitution then how are a majority of other states and the US Capitol getting away with not allowing protests in their buildings? Shouldn't the US Supreme Court get on that?

human
human

"So if a group of people assemble in the cafeteria of a grade school and peaceably sing songs about how bad Obama is everyday at noon do you think that would be tolerated?"

Huh? Actually, if you went into a grade school cafeteria without checking in at the front desk and getting permission to be in the school, you'd probably get arrested -- for reasons that are pretty obvious after Newton. Should we have the same rules in the Rotunda?

ginrummy
ginrummy

Whoa! So you're saying my rights would be subject to some type of rules and my presence would require permission (kind of like a permit)? I would just object just as the people at the capitol due because rules should not be enforced when they infringe on my rights. Rights are rights aren't they? Or do you reserve the right to decide what rights are encapsulated with rules?

epic
epic

Constitutional rights are not unlimited. Second Amendment rights are tempered by legislation and the courts. Convicted felons and mentally unstable people are not allowed to possess guns. Weapons may not be carried into courthouses. Citizens may not possess grenade launchers or bombs. Rights, with generally accepted limitations.

The right to peaceably assemble is also tempered. Arrests are common in the U.S. Capitol and in various federal office buildings when protesters disrupt government operations. Federal government employees have jobs to do and don't need disruptions in their work areas. Same with our state capitol building. The permit process in effect for the Wisconsin capitol building is not an onerous burden for those wishing to chant inside our working state office building. Hatred of Scott Walker and the Republican dominated legislature lives on after both a general election and a recall election. That hatred does not equate special privileges for the sing song performers.

Just as an aside, it's nice to see the sheriff observing the "Palace Guard". His in-basket must have been empty that day. Must think he is still a union shop steward instead of a busy executive. Old proclivities are hard to break.

Norwood44
Norwood44

Bingo Epic.

Comment deleted.
Priestess
Priestess

Wow. Angry much? It's the Cap Police that have ramped things up here. Like the article says there were 20 or so singers that would show up each lunch hour before this asinine "crackdown" where the building guards willy nilly pick and choose who will get cited each day. They are issuing a ticket where there is no need to put grandma or kids in cuffs. Once they started doing that citizens started showing up. It's an over reach and abuse of power by Walker and Erwin.

There might be a few like you who cheer to the ruling with an iron hand...big daddy who says do as I say or else no matter how made up the rules are from day to day. But those of us who are educated and understand the rules and this states history won't stand for it. The article is right when it says police forces around the country are scratching their heads...what our DOA and Walker/Erwin are doing is just dumb...

Retired PE
Retired PE

So, let me see if I have this straight. Madison police officers join the singers and are NOT arrested. Dane County Sheriff Mahoney is in the gallery watching and is NOT arrested. It appears that arrests are not being done equally. Of course, arresting a grandmother, 14-year-old girl, and Progressive magazine reporter are all easier and far less damaging to Walker's image than it would be to arrest Madison police officers and/or Mahoney. After all, Walker is still trying to stay on the "good side" of these professionals (police, firefighters, etc.) until his 2014 campaign is over. Arresting some of their own would NOT fit into that agenda. When in the world will a slight majority of state voters see this governor and his administration and other Tea Party politicians in Madison for what they are and vote these people out of office? They attack the singers and not the source/s of the problem.

PapaLorax
PapaLorax

you are correct - they cite a select few...they simply cannot cite all the rule breakers.

S54k
S54k

If you were there, you would have seen that the "select few" they arrested were probably the least intimidating of the participates. The CP sneak up behind those that chose to sing quietly and arrest them rather than arrest the very vocal participants in the center of the rotunda. The Cops for Labor were front and center. Why not arrest them and make a real statement. I guess it was just professional courtesy, right? What a circus walker has turned our state into!

idunoe
idunoe

Bull, they could encircle the entire group and have them all processed right there Stop them as they leave. Any number of tactics to be able to cite all of them. They choose not to.

davea
davea

I'm waiting for someone to be charged for "singing off key"!

toby
toby

I really question if Erwin has earned his "Merit Pay" bonus from Scotty. I do recall that one of their talking points against Teachers were that they should be paid by what they produce not by how long they work & would be given " Merit Pay" bonuses. How's that working out across the State?

Bucky24
Bucky24

The only people receiving merit pay are Walker supporters.....Erwin, the failed WEDC CEO & workers, Scott's appointed ones. ........ Ridiculous! Some might even say corrupt!

Bucky24
Bucky24

Scott Walker is totally intimidated by his constituents...... Especially people who sing. There is no rhyme or reason who they arrest. Some days it is one person, other days 20. Scott Walker is not a leader. Please remember this in 2014.

toobad
toobad

Walker has blocked further incursions into taxpayer pockets by the gov't worker unions vs. the singalong protesters who demand a deeper reach into taxpayer pockets for their spoils.

Nav
Nav

Governor Walker "pretends" he is such a friend of the taxpayers, but he forgets taxpayers are also citizens who love their State and do not want to see it continuously divided. They are not happy with him!

ArchieBunkersKidBrother
ArchieBunkersKidBrother

The propaganda machine spins on.

Retired PE
Retired PE

Toobad, at least the public employees you are slashing once again are on the job and doing their job. You cannot say the same for the ultimate public employee - your governor. When he is ever in this state tending to his job rather than letting his lackies take the fall for him? Where's your outrage regarding the pay raise and underhanded way it was done for Irwin and his assistant? They are also public employees in this state. If you wish to attack some, attack all public employees.

manofthewoods
manofthewoods

http://www.prwatch.org/news/2013/08/12224/wisconsin-prepares-hand-half-million-taxpayer-funds-koch-tied-gop-lobby-shop

Nav
Nav

As long as the Governor is Scott Walker, I expect the people will continue to protest. There are a LOT of Wisconsinites upset at the Governor's policies and how he has successfully managed to keep the state divided since he became Governor, but it is not practical for them to come to Madison and protest. Many of them are happy to see people in Dane County protest on their behalf.

The people are asking why they have not heard from the Governor on this topic. He is, after all, the Executive of the State. Chief Irwin does report to his office. For him to refer questions to DOA is a copout. Didn't he say he was going to write a book called "unintimidated"?

The good people of Wisconsin hold the Governor responsible for the mess he has created in the state. They want answers from him.

Norwood44
Norwood44

Nav. I actually agree with you on your point that Walker should be a leader and explain his actions. He inability or unwillingness to communicate the reasons for his moves make him vulnerable in the next election. But ACT 10 was still a good idea. And the protests are counterproductive and disingenous.

sun
sun

Act 10 was not a good idea. It was all about getting control of the teachers voice. so they could get control of education and ram through their data driven, brainwashing agenda they call education. Micheal Brickman told us this. Now some of the Tea Party conservatives who said they were fighting for liberty and free speech in the first place and caused the formation of their group, are not defending teachers rights to speak or these singers which are trying to keep their First Amendment Rights, but those conservatives are screaming because they think that Common Core Standards take away their rights to advocate for their child's education and speak. There can not be free speech for some and not all. Too bad for those that are trying to stop Common Core. The group that could best help them-educators-they have destroyed, attacked and silenced. They need their help and cannot get it because they have divided and created a system that has threatened their existence and caused such fear for their jobs that they can not speak up. SOMEBODY needs to fix this. Stop taking the diversion and pay attention to the real agenda!

Retired PE
Retired PE

Nav, kinda hard to get any answers from Walker when he is seldom in the state tending to business and more likely out-of-state at his latest fundraiser.

Bucky24
Bucky24

Norwood does not understand that fundraising does not equal governing.

Norwood44
Norwood44

I actually understand that very well. It is exactly my reason for supporting ACT 10. The largest and wealthiest political lobby in Wisconsin history was WEAC. I view WEAC and Kochs as the same. Cash for legistation. Both need to be purged from the poltical process.

Mr Mellow
Mr Mellow

Norwood, how do you feel about WMC?

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it clean. Exchange ideas and opinions on posted articles. Don't promote products or services, impersonate other site users, register multiple accounts, threaten or harass others, post vulgar, abusive, obscene or sexually oriented language. Don't post content that defames or degrades anyone. Don't repost copyrighted material; link to it. In other words, stick to the topic and play nice. Report abuses by clicking the button. Users who break the rules will be banned from commenting. We no longer issue warnings. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.