Steve Burns: Capitol police should stop ‘protecting’ us


This letter by Steve Burns originally appeared in the Wisconsin State Journal August 31, 2013. It appears here at with Steve’s permission.

During the first two years of the Solidarity Singalong, when the Capitol’s permit requirement was not enforced, how many people were hurt? Two, as far as I can tell: 1) A singalong participant, punched in the mouth by a gun enthusiast, 2) An assistant state facilities director who used his pocket knife to pop a red helium heart balloon and only succeeded in injuring himself.

Now, after a month of police actions to enforce the permit policy, how many people have been hurt? 1) A man falling down the stairs while handcuffed in police custody, 2) A retired minister, suffering an angina attack that required hospitalization, also while in police custody, 3 and 4) Two brothers, injured while being assaulted by police.

In short, the injury rate under the police crackdown is higher now than under the supposedly “anarchic” situation that preceded the crackdown.

The police may claim their permit policy is needed to maintain order and protect public safety, but it is now clear it is the police themselves who are the greatest threat to order and safety.

Please, Capitol Police, stop “protecting” us.

— Steve Burns, Madison

Here are stories or video that relate to individuals Steve Burns mentions in his letter.

Friday July 26, 2013
Carter Dary had a heart episode while arrested.
Songs in the Key of Resistance: “Nitro, Nitro: This Man Needs Nitro!” (Update)

August 01, 2013
Will Williams fell down marble stairs while handcuffed.
Will Williams Explains How He Was Injured While Protesting at the Wisconsin Capitol – August 2, 2013 by laborradio

Monday August 26, 2013:
C.J. Terrell got a brutal amount of ‘pain compliance’ from police.

Damon Terrell was rushed, tackled, and piled on by multiple officers who then dawdled on paperwork which had the effect of keeping him in Dane County Jail for 72 hours. He was released on a signature bond without a charge on Thursday.

Older incidents:

Former Senator Dave Zien and Tea Party Create Scene, Attack Solidarity Singer in Capitol Today
June 21, 2011

Wisconsin Capitol building employee attacks balloon then protester. One witness describes the event.
July 25, 2011


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