|Wisconsin capitol cops allow handcuffed Vietnam veteran, |
Will Williams to tumble down stairs in August 2013.
An ambulance then transported him to the local
VA hospital for treatment. (WCMC)
Legal civil liberties victories are not typically sexy in the political culture.
A handful of attorneys and citizens work diligently, the victories are rarely celebrated as a society though individuals' won freedom represent prevailing over anti-democratic, anti-freedom political movements and administrations.
It's no surprise Scott Walker's administration at the capitol that used capitol police to silence anti-Walker, pro-freedom voices—a prolonged effort that became both brutal and grew to outrageous lengths—was halted in a court of law.
At one point in August 2013, Walker's Department of Administration (DOA, aka the Department of All, constantly growing as Walker's power grabs accumulate) and the DOA's capitol police actually encircled people on the capitol rotunda and warned them "spectating"—(watching) an event or a gathering of people declared illegal by the capitol police chief (a former Walker bodyguard now clearing $100,000/year courtesy of Wisconsin taxpayers, and who runs what he newly termed the capitol "Executive Command Staff," which oversaw Walker's using police against political opponents)—was grounds for arrest. (Kemble, The Progressive) (WKOW-TV (Madison)) (Rowan, Wisconsin Media Media Cooperative)
That same month, a local state representative was threatened with arrest for "spectating." (Davidoff, Isthmus)
What is a shock is how many went along with this idiocy.
It's the state capitol, and capitol police are presented with situations rendering them little more than mall cops, but to this day act at though they are under siege and have militarized a function that used to be a cushy capitol tourist information function position, parking police and maybe giving a speeding ticket to someone driving around the capitol square too fast. Notable exceptions who spoke out against the capitol cops include the Madison Professional Police Officers Association and Dane County Deputy Sheriffs Association in September 2013.
Former Madison Mayor David J. Cieslewicz (2003-2011) actively sided with Scott Walker (Mal Contends) (Mal Contends). Cieslewicz is reportedly contemplating another run at public office, one hopes his hostility to the First Amendment and Wisconsin citizens is remembered.
A federal judge in July 2013 ordered a halt to Walker's organized campaign to silence what are anti-Scott Walker speech, civil rights songs and lighthearted fun and sometimes requested tunes by the Solidarity Sing Along (Facebook), and others.
Some citizens were arrested for being black, or for watching or being present at the capitol while the capitol police decided they didn't like people assembling, in violation of the United States and Wisconsin Constitutions and longstanding public use of the capitol. (Mal Contends)
"The Wisconsin Capitol Rotunda functions, both literally and symbolically, as a city center and is fully utilized as a public space to which all have claim," writes United States District Court Judge William M. Conley in a significant opinion and injunction in Michael Kissick vs. Michael Huebsch and David Erwin.
After repeated violations of the federal order by the cops, Judge Conley ordered the parties together and reached an agreement guaranteeing the First Amendment rights of citizens in October 2013 (DeFour, Wisconsin State Journal) (Stein, Phillis and Marley, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel).
In January 2015 a Wisconsin state appellate court sustained the First Amendment rights of the civil-rights-movement-singing Wisconsin Solidarity Singers or Solidarity Sing-Along (Facebook) and other Wisconsin citizens, and put an end to Walker's regime of denying liberty (and fining) to those indicating anti-Walker expression.
That state appellate case is State of Wisconsin v. Michael W. Crute (Appeal No. 2014AP659; Circuit Court No. 2010FO2108). Mr. Crute was cited with a civil citation when he sang in 2013 and his case was dismissed by Dane County Judge John Markson last year, citing First Amendment violations by the state of Wisconsin.
About those dangerous thugs, a 2014 video by the Voice Project shows the people whom Scott Walker compared to ISIS and continues to brag that he 'took them on' in campaign stops.
Civil rights suits by citizens are still making their way through federal court.
In the video below, cops can be seen as they turn into outright fascists, arresting people, having them jailed, violently assaulting individuals and denying our fellows their very liberty.
One hopes this story is told often, and the Voice Project deserves thanks for telling it in their video.