Sixth day of mass arrests in the Wisconsin capitol building rotunda


This has to be a very brief post due to time constraints. For previous posts on days 1 – 5 see this post listing.

This is the 6th day that singers have been arrested en masse and given citations in Wisconsin’s capitol building since July 24th.

I’m unsure of the number of citations issued today. The rotunda was full of singers. The 1st floor railing just above the rotunda was surrounded by onlookers.

I was approached by two puzzled black women who asked me if it was OK to sing after they saw a man escorted away by police. I replied that they were at risk of arrest if they sang on the ground floor and that they might be safer if they went to the floor just above. They shook their heads and left the building.

Early into the arrests I heard a loud thud sounding above me from the 1st floor. I didn’t see the situation directly but I saw people across the way – at the balcony – pointing. Then I was told by several people immediately that they witnessed Officer Michael J Syphard pulling Arthur Kohl Riggs down hard by the back of his jacket. I’ve heard there will be video forthcoming shortly.

Incidentally, this is a record of Officer Syphard’s open deferred prosecution for a disorderly conduct charge. He was determined guilty on 09-06-2012.

Also notable:
2 raging grannies were arrested.
I believe that this is a first.

Here’s a set of a few more of my photos on flickr.

Here is a set of photos on facebook from Leslie Amsterdam.

Here’s today’s Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article on the arrests:
Now a matter of routine, Capitol arrests continue

Anyone needing legal assistance for arrests while singing or observing singing at the Capitol:
You can call the National Lawyers Guild at 608-520-0654. The coordinator will then attempt to find legal representation for the person who has been arrested.

If you would like to contribute to the First Amendment Protection Fund that helps those cited for singing in the rotunda with tickets and legal expenses, you can either send a check to this mailing address:
C/O Steve Gotcher
PO Box 3141
Madison, WI 53704

Or use Paypal to contribute at


One thought on “Sixth day of mass arrests in the Wisconsin capitol building rotunda

  1. Is it not odd that people would rather ask/beg for money to pay a legal fine after the fact, and thereby, in that action, recognize the necessity of procedural law, than to attempt to get a free permit that is representative of that same procedural law?

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