Third day of mass arrests in WI’s capitol – my notes from the road

I am in Michigan for a wedding now and this weekend and I’m writing this post on my phone. Apologies for the rough formatting.. 

I’ve been checking facebook and twitter the whole drive up for updates on today’s activities at the capitol building.  I’ll share with you what I’ve located on the net.

From WPR “DOA issued a statement saying it had issued 17 tickets on site for gathering without a permit. The DOA 14 people “will receive” citations “from video.” In the past, police have mailed tickets to protesters whose identity they already know.”

WPR’s story includes comments from Brian Standing and Bart Munger.

There was much speculation online and on site today regarding a wedding that was scheduled to be at the capitol today. Would it be disturbed by protest? Did it even happen?
WPR offers us this information:
“The DOA also produced a copy of a permit application for a wedding that was scheduled to be held either inside the rotunda or outside if the weather was nice. DOA says the wedding party chose to get married outside today even though it was occasionally drizzling at the noon hour. It’s unknown at this time whether the wedding party made its decision because of the protesters.”

From Arthur at SSWIDTMS: “Police started warning random groups of onlookers that if they didn’t immediately disperse they to would be arrested. Many of those warned were tourists visiting from out of town.” VIDEO

Teamster Nation caught the fact that a child was arrested.

Franciscan Friar Phil Gerbac announcing happily “arrest me” in the rotunda’s center. (very brief video).

Minister Carter Dary suffered a heart ailment while protesting (that’s a video link). I got word that he is in the hospital but is in good spirits and has further testing scheduled tomorrow.

Letter to DOA’s Mike Huebsch from Sen. Risser and Rep. Taylor.

Ryan Wherley says in his post that by cracking down on singers “Scott Walker and Mike Huebsch made a HUGE mistake.”

He notes an important shift present in 2013 that I’ve been thinking about too:

“It felt like the Uprising of February 2011 all over again, with one major difference. Two years ago, we were a disparate group of individuals marching for a similar cause, but unknown to each other. But now, we’re friends and family. Everywhere I looked were people who’ve stood alongside each other on the front lines in the fight against a tyrannical leadership for the past 29 months. If people were afraid, they didn’t show it, because they knew their brothers and sisters surrounding them had their backs.”

We said “brothers and sisters” in 2011 without fully experiencing what we were talking about. Now we are “there” more fully.

Greg Gordon spoke about this week’s mass arrests tonight at 7:30PM Central on a Detroit radio program called The Tony Show. Hopefully a podcast of his interview will emerge shortly.

That’s all the typing I want to do on a smartphone tonight (Relieved I was wise enough to get a model with a keyboard). I am not scared of what’s happening in the rotunda. I would be more frightened for us all if we were pretending everything was just fine after 2 years of watching Walker’s kleptocracy unfold. That would be madness.

Samantha Masterton: “I was arrested for taking pictures”

This is written by Samantha Masterton and has appeared in the Wausau Daily Herald:

On Nov. 1, the first day it was legal to carry concealed guns in Wisconsin, I was arrested.

I had traveled to Madison to participate in Concealed Camera Day, an organized protest against concealed carry and the unconstitutionality of Assembly gallery rules. I carried my camera into the Assembly gallery, quietly snapped pictures, and was promptly arrested.

Two of the many rules of the Assembly gallery are the prohibition of photography and signs. Although these rules have been in place for some years, it is only recently that they are being challenged. I have been watching with increasing horror as illegal arrests have been perpetrated against peaceful citizens who were photographing or holding signs in the gallery.

People have been arrested for displaying copies of the U.S. Constitution. Pictures of apple pie, Ronald Reagan and Mother Teresa have been grounds for arrest. One man was arrested for wearing a cross made of paper and tied around his neck with a piece of yarn. The cross was considered a sign because it had words on it: “For God so loved the world.” These arrests enrage me.

Gov. Scott Walker has called special sessions of the Legislature in which public debate is essentially eliminated. The doors of the Capitol are routinely illegally locked during Assembly and Senate sessions, severely limiting citizen access. Walker’s administration has held public meetings in spaces too small to comfortably accommodate all who wish to speak.

Government transparency, public discourse and debate should be nonpartisan issues. These issues and the trampling of our First Amendment rights have put me in such an agitated state that I took a day off from work to make the trek to Madison and risk arrest.

The Assembly session on Nov. 1 began around 6:30 p.m. Upon entering the single gallery that was open (another barrier to citizen involvement), I was handed a small slip of paper listing the gallery rules. On the lighted information board across the room, I clearly saw the admonishment, “Please follow all posted rules.” I took a picture of the sign.

One of the pages quickly told me to put my camera away, and I refused, stating that it was my right to take pictures.

It was only a matter of minutes later, when I was quietly photographing the arrest of another protester, that I was approached by two police officers and was asked to leave the gallery with them. I did not resist.

The officers escorted me down the hall and handcuffed me. I was told I was under arrest for breaking the Assembly rules. I repeatedly asked what law I had broken. The charge ended up being for “other conduct prohibited – obstruction” with an attached fine of $205.50.

I was taken, flanked by the officers, to a basement cafeteria and a makeshift processing center where I sat, still handcuffed, while I was written a citation. Other arrestees filtered in, each flanked by two officers, who ranged in demeanor from embarrassed to angry.

It was all over in a matter of 15 minutes. The handcuffs were taken off, I was handed my citation, and I was told that I could not re-enter the Assembly gallery that night. All told, eighteen people were arrested.

Many of these arrests were captured on video. One of the best is on YouTube under the title “Police State – Concealed Cameras in the Wisconsin Capitol.” My arrest is at the two-minute mark.

All of the previous citations for holding signs or photographing meetings have been dismissed, and I expect that mine will be dismissed, as well. I expect no other negative repercussions to come from my arrest. It was a farce, honestly, and I do not feel as if I did anything noble or heroic.

All I did was refuse to comply with what I feel is an illegal rule that is in direct violation of the Wisconsin and United States Constitutions and of Wisconsin statutes. Statute 19.90 states, “Whenever a governmental body holds a meeting in open session, the body shall make a reasonable effort to accommodate any person desiring to record, film or photograph the meeting.”

And I will refuse to comply again, if need be. “The First Amendment,” said one of the signs in the gallery, “Use it or lose it.”

Paul Ryan Luncheon Arrests and Protest

Photo above from Wisconsin Jobs Now.

These are videos of people getting kicked out of Paul Ryan’s Rotary luncheon for asking questions. After they paid $15.00 to get in. I’m seeing multiple reports that 5 were kicked out while 3 were arrested.

While they were inside, a rally took place outside.

From Greendale Patch: “Outside, the protests and counter-protests were spirited but peaceful, with police from West Allis,Greenfield, Hales Corners and Franklin, as well as Milwaukee County Sheriff’s deputies.

“We’ve tried to get a chance to talk to Paul,” said one man who had been at the luncheon but withheld his name. “We’ve asked for many opportunities to meet with him at a public forum and his office has refused.”

“All these conservatives that are our representatives are supporting corporate interests,” said Steven Sweet of Bay View. “It’s the same mantra over and over again, but how else can I put it. They’re cutting programs and not asking anyone else to share the sacrifice.”

Supporters, many from outside the immediate area, also came out.

“I really support Paul Ryan and I support what he stands for. I believe that you can’t take from Peter to pay Paul and this country has been doing it for how many years,” said Ginny Holton from Brown Deer. “We have to stop the spending that’s going on. We need a strong, moral government that has some integrity, one that follows the constitution. … we just need a different direction, and I do think Paul Ryan is man of integrity.”

“We’re here just to support Paul,” said Gary from Burlington.  “We had heard they were bussing people in from Racine, and we wanted to take up a call to action.””

Kelly Gallaher has a few more luncheon arrest videos at her YouTube channel

Protesters, reporters arrested at the Capitol today

Reporters Arrested

Two female reporters were arrested today at the Capitol. One is named Sam Bayfield, per the audio you’ll hear in this video.

I called WORT FM assuming that they would get more on their 6:30PM local news show, and I was told by Joanne Powers that Sam was giving details to WORT at that very moment.

If you are in the Madison area, tune in to 89.9FM 6:30PM CST. You can also hear WORT online via this LINK. I’ll put the archived show here, as well.

Protesters Arrested

“Capitol Police Chief Charles Tubbs says four people were arrested for disorderly conduct after they tried to enter the building without stopping for police clearance through metal detectors.

He says a fifth person was arrested for trying to prop open a door presumably so others could enter later to avoid police.”

Also cited today were three of Madison’s most avid protesters who blocked road traffic on the square: Segway Jeremy, C.J., and C.J.’s brother (whose name I am trying to track down). From the police blotter: “three people were cited for Obstructing a Roadway after refusing to get out of the street. The Capitol Square was back open to traffic shortly after 1:00 p.m.”

Sounds like another M&I Bank Closing Attempt

Also from Madison’s police blotter: ” …two people were cited for Disorderly Conduct following a disturbance inside the foyer of M&I bank, 1 W. Main St. Officers said around 30 gained entry to the area, which is between two doors leading into the bank. They were told they needed to leave or be arrested. Most chose to exit”.