Yesterday was just another day of mayhem in the State Capitol brought to you by Gov. Scott Walker and the Capitol Police.
The buzz around the Capitol on Tuesday confirms what we first heard about a week ago. Yes, Capitol Police are targeting any and all spectators with arrest for simply watching the Solidarity Sing-Along. Those targeted include legislative staff, legislators, tourists, children and of course journalists and videographers.
It's beginning to appear like Walker's display of power and police action to squelch political dissent has been strong enough to abridge the press first. With an obvious decline in establishment media coverage beginning this past Monday in the Capitol Rotunda, most of the up-close reporting, with few exceptions, is now being done by citizen journalists and Sing-Along participants.
First about the children:
Susan C. writes:
"As I was walking out of the capitol today I overheard two women, shepherding four children, aged 6-10, talking about how "horrible it was in there today." I turned around and engaged them. It turned out they had to leave because one of the little girls was so scared she never wanted to go back in the capitol again. I asked, "Afraid of the singers?" Her mom looked at me like I was crazy. She said, "No, the police."
They were standing up on the second floor and the kids started clapping along with the singers when a Capitol police officer told them to stop or they would be arrested. The kids were terrified and their moms were livid. They wanted to know just what was going on.
This group was from Janesville, I think; teacher, of course. I encouraged them to write up a complaint but they were on their way to get ice cream."
The last thing a parent needs is for the police to imprint their impressionable young children with the "bad cop" stereotype. Good grief!
Then the visitors. One man explaining to the police that he is only watching says, "but, I'm NOT with them! Watch it:
And more visitors:
And yet another, watch here.
Then there is the lawmaker, Rep. Sondy Pope, or according to Capitol Police Chief Erwin rules, a lawbreaker.
State Rep. Sondy Pope (D-Middleton) was threatened with arrest Tuesday for watching the Solidarity Sing Along from the floor above the noontime protest.
Tia Nelson, executive secretary of the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands, who was standing with Pope, was also threatened with arrest. Nelson said she had stopped to observe the sing-along after leaving a meeting at the Capitol.
"I was told [by a Capitol Police officer] that if I didn't move I was subject to arrest," said Nelson. "They were also telling tourists that."
Pope said she didn't say anything to the Capitol Police officer who threatened her with arrest, but she did leave her spot by the banister. "As a legislator I swore to uphold the Constitution of the United States. I think what [the police] are doing is unconstitutional. How can you arrest me for observing?
"I have a duty to observe what is happening to my constituents who are expressing their discontent," Pope added.
Read more here
A question asked in a comment posted at the Isthmus story:
Why did this never happen in Wisconsin's 165 years of history until Scott Walker became governor?
A huge Thank You to all the courageous Sing-Along participants, observers, citizen journalists and videographers for risking arrest to bring us the latest news from the Capitol.
More From The Netroots:
Common Dreams - Wisconsin Activists Rebuke Gov. Walker's Crackown on Dissent
Blue Cheddar - Wisconsin Senator Erpenbach's Letter to Capitol Police Chief Erwin
Working America - PHOTOS: In Scott Walker’s Wisconsin, Teachers and Others Arrested for Singing
The Devils Advocate Radio - Facebook Collection of recent videos, photos with discussion
Solidarity Sing-Along - First Amendment protection Fund