Capitol police deliver tickets to sign-holders at home and workplace

There have been more arrests of sign-holding singers at Wisconsin’s Capitol but with a new twist: the accused were cited either while walking home hours after the noon sing along, at their homes, or at work.

“one man was ticketed late in the day as he walked through the Capitol for allegedly holding an unauthorized rally in the building last Friday. My assumption is the “rally” was the Sing Along, which numbered about 300 spontaneously gathered singers that day.” – source

At home:
“Two citizens, including Madison resident Jason Huberty, were visited at their home late today and given citations alleging they violated 2.08(1)(b) by holding a banner over the railing overlooking the ground floor of the rotunda earlier in the day.” from Giles Goat Boy at Daily Kos

At work:
Bart Munger, a 51-year-old Milton resident who works in Madison at the UW Physical Plant, says one Capitol Police officer and one UW Police officer came to his job and gave him two tickets – one for obstructing access without a permit, and one for holding a sign or banner. More at dane101.

Below Bart Munger describes getting a citation. Video is courtesy of Arthur Kohl-Riggs of SSWIDTMS

The surprise tickets did not deter a group estimated at 150 from singing today after a moment of silence to commemorate the anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

I saw a photo of a sign pop up on facebook which said “I’m not a terrorist” and I thought the holder was thinking of 9/11.

But I realized later the singer was probably referencing this interview Erwin gave to a right wing web site:

“..we have a group of people that come here, and last week they were holding signs and they are part of this group that, for lack of a better word, are terrorizing people at this Capitol”. Read it in full HERE.

Erwin should be given a thesaurus to help him with his lack of better words.

I leave the reader with this statement from two attorneys with Madison’s NLG:

The Madison, Wisconsin chapter of the National Lawyers’ Guild (NLG) condemns the Capitol Police’s continuing arrests of citizens at the Wisconsin State Capitol. After the rule used by police to arrest people last week was interpreted not to include holding signs in a circuit court case, police today cited protesters for draping banners over railings inside the capitol rotunda and holding an illegal rally without a permit, although these activities have been going on for months without incident. It has become impossible to tell what conduct is allowed or prohibited in the Capitol Rotunda, and repeated arrests of select individuals are designed to stifle dissent against state policies, say Guild members.

Despite the presence of the usual contingent of Capitol Police at the Capitol on Friday, September 07, 2012, they arrested no one during the daily Solidarity Singalong, which is plainly not a “spontaneous event” that would be exempt from the new Capitol Access Policy, and involved well over four people, the minimum number required for a “rally” under the Policy.

“Capitol Police have been choosing on a “case by case basis” whom they arrest and when, which is troubling, because that often leads to selective law enforcement, as we see in this instance, and makes it difficult for people to comply with rules that are unclear,” said Patricia Hammel, a member of the NLG representing several people charged with rules violations.

“Arbitrary police conduct clearly contravenes basic principles of American government under our Constitution. The police have a responsibility to act consistently according to well defined, publicly available rules that the public has the opportunity to conform their conduct to in order to avoid arrest. The Capitol Police arrest citizens for holding signs inside the Capitol one day, but not the next. Which is it?” wondered William B. Turner, anther NLG member representing others charged last week.

Patricia K. Hammel
William B. Turner
The Madison, Wisconsin chapter of the National Lawyers’ Guild (NLG)


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