Showing posts with label Wisconsin State Capitol. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Wisconsin State Capitol. Show all posts

Apr 12, 2013

Scott Walker Signs 'Emergency' Rules to Stop Singing and 'Hazards'

Local Broadcast Madison Television Maintains Blackout of Footage of Police Citing Citizens for Singing or Holding a Piece of Paper 

Update: See One Day Longer, 25 Months Stronger: the Solidarity Sing Along Draws Hope from the Next Generation.

Scott Walker continues his quest to stop Wisconsin citizens' open display of disagreement with Scott Walker's policies on the state capitol building grounds.

In a new development, Walker has signed "emergency" rules that "say that any person who refuses to remove or correct 'any hazardous situation' at the request of any department [Department of Administration] employee will be subject to citation, and lists hazards such as 'displays, decorations, signs, banners or the like.'" (Spicuzza. Wisconsin State Journal)

Next week, "a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union against the Walker administration over the citations is scheduled to have a hearing in federal court," notes the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. (Stein)

The Walker administration has remained silent in the face of requests to disclose who initiated the new crackdown, and the new emergency rules against protesters and why.

Rep. Chris Taylor (D-Madison) held a press conference yesterday in which Taylor said, "I was denied any correspondence I've requested between the Department of Administration and the Capitol Police. These are public documents that we have a right to see, that we have a right to know about and this administration is refusing to provide that information."

Legal observers see the Walker crackdown against those opposing his policies as unconstitutional.

Several times in the past two years, Walker and his Department of Administration Secretary Huebsch were ordered by judges to open the capitol that Walker ordered closed.

Walker and the capitol police have since Walker (in his words) "dropped the bomb" on Wisconsin in his surprise attack on the right of workers to unionize, at times turned the state capitol into what State Sen. Fred Risser (D-Madison) said in 2011 was an "armed fortress."

The Capitol Police chief appointed by the Walker administration, Dave Erwin, has walked out of a meeting with state legislators in the past after being asked for the specifics of his policy and how he intends to protect the rights of Wisconsin citizens.

From September 2012 in which Erwin continued his harassment of Wisconsin citizens speaking and singing against Scott Walker:

Jan 26, 2013

Wisconsin GOP: Cracking down on Wisconsin citizens

Will Wisconsin's Scott Walker, Walker's disgraceful political hit-man Chief David Erwin and the Republican Party succeed in suppressing citizens' popular will at the Wisconsin state capitol?

A lot of bystanders around.

And the Wisconsin Democratic Party has since before the Recall refused to speak out for the rights of citizens attacked (literally) practicing their constitutional rights.

In Wisconsin, citizen groups and pissed-off lawyers are responsible for ensuring the rights of Wisconsin citizens.

The state Democratic Party has taken a pass, and continues to do so.

Sep 18, 2012

Blue Courage Needed at Madison, Wisconsin Capitol

Blue Courage

Update: See Madison Police Chief David C. Couper's (ret.) Piece,  “Blue Courage” — Coming to a Police Station Near You?

Wisconsin Capitol Police Chief, David Erwin, please take note of Blue Courage.

The rights of Wisconsin citizens are sacred. And you have an equally sacred duty to protect these rights.

Your actions are faltering. You do not serve a corrupt governor and his minions.

Your calling, when you took your oath, is much higher.

You're a Marine as well; and damn well know better.

Please consider attending a Blue Courage workshop; at the least I'd wager you would walk away feeling you met some extraordinary people.

I think your policing the People's House would change, radically, as a direct result.

"Blue Courage is a way of being, a philosophy that inspires one to embody the noblest of character and unquestioned devotion. It is to flourish in all aspects of life, to act with practical wisdom, to exude vitality, and to hearten human connections."

Blue Courage is a transformational two day leadership development workshop designed for all levels of the organization. This revolutionary educational process is designed to touch hearts, awaken minds and ignite spirits through dynamic presentations and learning processes. If your interest is self-improvement, increased engagement, stress-management, developing resilience, igniting culture change, combating cynicism, while improving overall health and well-being, then Blue Courage is waiting for you to answer the call!"

Sep 17, 2012

Capitol Police Arrest Woman for Carrying Book and Talking with Friend as Police Targeting of Political Movement Continues

Capitol Police deny liberty of Wisconsin citizen
Photo credit: Leslie Amsterdam
Update: Capitol Police Chief David Erwin ... is "a complete walking joke." Ludicrous, yes; but a corrupt cop is always a clear and present danger to the public.

Wisconsin has a problem. No, Wisconsin has an outrage. The GOP's strategy with the complicity of the corrupt Capitol Chief David Erwin appears to be 'turning the magnificent public space of out capitol into a closed and closely controlled place of business for corporations, their lobbyists and their bought and paid for Supreme Court, Governor and Republican legislature
.' (Kemble)
Sure, part of the problem is a lawless governor and the Dept. of Administration (DOA) Secretary Mike Huebsch.

Another problem is a corrupt cop, Capitol Chief David Erwin, who feels entitled to threaten journalists. See Isthmus staff taking photos of Wisconsin Capitol police are threatened with 'obstruction.'

Citizens protesting, we know they're fair game to Erwin.

It's worse.

Erwin is actually sending his troops out to citizens' homes and places of work to intimidate citizens, so dedicated is he to his project of targeting a lawful political movement.

And last Friday, a woman, a military veteran, and her friend went to their capitol to protest the sleazy politicians on the take from billionaires.

For this they accordingly constitute what Capitol Chief David Erwin described as a "chaotic" situation in an interview with WKOW.

While walking through the capitol, the pair was surrounded and assaulted by capitol police, acting on the orders of Erwin, the DOA and ultimately Scott Walker.

WTDY reports: "The woman, who is a veteran, was rushed by ambulance to the veteran's hospital. No word on her condition. Her companion was detained by police to be processed in the Capitol basement."

What if this woman—who has a heart condition—were to have died after the Capitol police assault?

And what is the cause for this random arrest?

John Peterson, and WTDY have the story. Rebecca Kemble at The Progressive offers a more comprehensive treatment.

Let's hope civil liberties law suits are filed to halt Erwin from his lawless action that has now veered past denying liberty (bad enough) into physically endangering the health of Wisconsin citizens.

Lisa Wells received a home visit from the
Capitol Police with these two citations.
Photo by Rebecca Kemble
The actions of Erwin ought be challenged again and again with massive protests and innovative political action.

The rule of law and the rights enshrined in the Wisconsin Constitution are not suggestions for Scott Walker and Erwin to follow only if they feel inclined. But we do have precisely this situation.

Wisconsin Constitution, Article One, damn the permits, full speed ahead.

The great jurist, Louis Dembitz Brandeis (1856-1941), wrote, "If we desire respect for the law, we must first make the law respectable."

We do have respectable law and a model Constitution. But as a law enforcement official, Erwin is a disgrace.

If Walker and Erwin think their thuggery will stop Wisconsin citizens from exercising their rights to challenge the crooks at the capitol, they are as misinformed about the Wisconsin movement as they are about the guarantees of liberty of which we are vested.

The temptation to borrow from Justice Brandeis is irresistible. To conclude: "The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in the insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well meaning but without understanding."

Without understanding. This describes Erwin perfectly, one would think. Scott Walker on the other hand we know is duplicitous.

Closer examination, however, reveals ignorance is not a refuge for Erwin. Consider Rebecca Kemble's reports for The Progressive magazine.

Writes Kemble.

Since making his first public comments in the press in August after being named Chief this summer, Erwin has waged a two-pronged assault on political dissent and free speech in Wisconsin’s Capitol

The first part of his strategy is to carefully craft a narrative of chaos, disorder and fear. He describes the people who feel their voice is not heard in state government under the Scott Walker regime who use the rotunda as a public place to air their grievances as rowdy, noisy protesters who disrupt the business of the people who work in the building.

In tightly controlled appearances in a few selected media outlets, Erwin reproduces unverified stories of legislative staffers being harassed by citizens coming into their offices asking them questions aggressively, and young children being afraid of the loud singing that takes place every day at noon in the rotunda.

Erwin has given long interviews to rightwing public relations outfits Wisconsin Reporter and the MacIver Institute, as well as to Wisconsin Eye. In each of these he claims that he is a non-partisan public employee who respects everybody’s right to free speech. But in an interview with WKOW he said, “There is a time and place for free speech, and we reserve the right to regulate that a little bit.”

In the interview with Wisconsin Reporter that was published on Monday this week, a day before the 11th anniversary of the bombing of the world trade center and the Pentagon, Erwin said, “And so we have a group of people that come here, and last week they were holding signs and they are part of this group that, for lack of a better word, are terrorizing people at this Capitol.”

It is easy for Erwin to make these kinds of inflammatory, unsubstantiated statements to a rightwing publication who will never challenge him on the veracity of the statement. But when he does not make himself available for questions to a broader range of journalists and when his public statements are so few and far between, it’s easy for these lies to take on a life of their own, be picked up by other news agencies as truth.

The second part of the strategy is to harass and intimidate people by issuing citations to people for administrative code violations that the arresting officers do not seem to understand and cannot explain. They have also begun to step up their visible presence at the daily noontime Solidarity Sing Along. In addition to taking notes, now there are one or two officers walking around the building videotaping every person in attendance.

In a strongly-worded letter to Mike Huebsch, Secretary of the Department of Administration, a group of Dane County state legislators strongly objected to the recent arrests saying, “The Capitol police’s response to individuals peacefully protesting is now verging on ridiculous.” They called on Secretary Huebsch to meet with them after his assistant Wendy Coomer and Chief Erwin walked out of a meeting with Rep. Chris Taylor the week before.

It is difficult to understand where this so-called law enforcement strategy is heading, since it seems to be generating more negative publicity for the Capitol police than for the citizens who are asserting their constitutional rights. In his interview with the MacIver Institute, Erwin said that if his law enforcement efforts failed, he would have to consider restricting public access to the building.

This is something his boss Mike Huebsch has wanted to do since the historic protests erupted a year and a half ago. However, in March 2011, Dane County Circuit Court Judge Albert ordered the building be as open and accessible to the public as it had been prior to the uprising. Perhaps the strategy is to intentionally fail so they can justify turning the magnificent public space into a closed and closely controlled place of business for corporations, their lobbyists and their bought and paid for Supreme Court, Governor and Republican legislature.

Sep 16, 2012

It's Not Just Walker and the DOA; Chief Erwin Is Out of Line

David M. Erwin
Chief of Police
Wisconsin Capitol Police

Update: It's 2013 and Erwin is still sending out three police officers, with two squads, to people's houses for the charge of having sung a song at the state capitol; and then named another song. Erwin is a disgrace and a hack for Scott Walker. Sarah Jones has the story.
Capitol Police Chief David Erwin is a problem, and being silent and averting our gaze towards Scott Walker is no solution, as our friend John Nichols has advised.

"Our men and women of the [Capitol Police] Department serve not only as police officers but as ambassadors at the seat of Wisconsin's government," writes Chief Erwin on the Capitol website. "... Please contact us if there is any matter with which we may assist you."

Ambassadors? Let's put that aside. There are matters pertaining to your conduct as Chief at our Capitol that require your personal assistance and a conversation.

Chief Erwin, time for a public Q and A, or a private chat with me, if your inclination and time permit. I can be reached at:

Arrested Development: A Veteran Police Chief
Sounds Off About Protest, Racism, Corruption
and the Seven Necessary Steps to
Improve Our Nation’s Police - David Couper

It's well past the time you revisit that oath you swore as a U.S. Marine and consider its relevancy to your actions as Chief.

In advance of a meeting, please consider looking up former Madison Police Chief (and now Episcopal priest), David Couper (1972-1993), and author of a new book on policing.

By Giles Goat Boy at Daily Kos

In the past three weeks, a number of Wisconsin Kossacks, including me, have been documenting the abuses being perpetrated by Wisconsin Capitol Police officers upon peaceful citizens protesting in the state Capitol. Those abuses have been orchestrated by the new Capitol Police Chief, David Erwin. Chief Erwin has also launched a media attack against those same peaceful protesters alleging all kinds of wild behavior.

On September 10th, he suggested that sign-holders and singers have been "terrorizing" staffers, legislators, and visitors, without giving any specifics. His officers have made dozens of arrests of "regular protesters" in the past few weeks, none of them for anything other than holding signs, draping banners over the rotunda, and failing to get a permit to sing If I Had a Hammer inside the building. You would think with all this terrorism and intimidation going on, we would have seen people arrested for something serious. Instead, people are being charged with violating obscure sections of the administrative code dealing with hazardous materials and heavy machinery left in the hallway.

The chief even said that people holding signs hurled insults at Red Cross volunteers at a blood drive being held on the opposite side of the rotunda one day. I didn't see anything like that while I was there but surely, with all the cops and video cameras they had swarming around the protesters that day, they arrested someone for that, right? That seems like a fairly straightforward violation, right? Easy to prosecute, got it all on video. Instead,they arrested people for holding up T-shirts they had received from Muslims for Life, an organization that encourages blood donations that had a display next to the blood drive that day. If he weren't a Chief, I'd swear he made the whole thing up.

So you might be asking why? What's the Chief trying to accomplish? Here's my theory, but keep in mind I've never met the Chief. Unlike his predecessor, he doesn't talk to regular people. I think the Chief keeps pursuing this ridiculous strategy of manufacturing tales of terrorism in the building while harassing peaceful protesters because he comes from a military background, then served in the State Patrol before becoming Chief of the Capitol Police. Citizens with loud mouths aren't citizens, they're just maggots that need to be broken down, and when they refuse to be broken down, he needs to teach them a lesson. When they still won't obey orders, they become the enemy. That's my theory, anyway.

He also can't wrap his head around the idea that there are no leaders among us. He is attempting, like a good military strategist, to cut the head off the snake, but what he sees as a snake is just a song circle. There is no head or tail. Like a neighborhood pick-up basketball game, there is no formal structure. Everyone knows that if they show up in the Capitol from noon to one weekdays, there will probably be people there singing. That's all it is.

The people who bring signs or chalk the sidewalk? They are just citizens who oppose the policies of the current administration. Some of them sing along while they hold their signs, but there's no plot, no secret funding, no terrorist organization, no political party, no roster, no dues, no clubhouse, no secret handshake, no marching orders, no union bosses, not even a meeting. People are just pissed off.

Yes, believe it or not, when the government strips basic rights from large classes of people, when they "drop the bomb" on public workers, when they admit they advocate the use of violence to break up peaceful protests, when they pass laws suppressing voting rights in a democracy, and when they openly mock and dehumanize 48 percent of the people or refuse to even have a conversation with legislators in the minority party, citizens don't like it. Shocking, isn't it? The Capitol rotunda was designed as a public forum, so when citizens in Wisconsin have an urge to petition their government, that's where they go, just like they go to the playground when they have the urge to play basketball.

A reporter from a local paper asked me on Friday what I thought the "strategy" of the Solidarity Sing Along was going to be now that Chief Erwin had made these aggressive moves against protesters. "I can only speak for myself, but probably show up on Monday and sing for an hour," was my answer. There was an awkward pause, like he expected more, but there is no more. There is no "they" there.

Sep 12, 2012

Scott Walker's Palace Guard Installs I-don't-like-your-politics 'panic' buttons

Is this Chief David Erwin?
Update II: VIDEO: ACLU Legal Observer Threatened by Wisconsin Capitol Police Speaks Out

Update: Legislators school Capitol Police Chief David Erwin and the Walker administration on constitutional freedoms in September 12 letter. [h/t Voices Newspaper Blog] Letter reads in part:
"The Capitol has a very special, constitutionally-protected role as a forum for people to exercise their rights to speak freely and petition their government. Civility does not mean that those who disagree with the government should sit down, be quiet, and let the administration do whatever it wants. The Administrative Code and the Wisconsin State Facilities Access Policy cannot supersede the state and federal constitutions."---
The criminalization of politically opposing Scott Walker continues, with the collaboration of Capitol Police Chief David Erwin.

Sing a song?

Hold a sign?

Protest a GOP politician?

Capitol Police Chief David Erwin has ways of making you not talk.

From the AP:

Hundreds of security buttons have been installed around the state Capitol as the new police chief steps up efforts to improve a sense of safety in the statehouse.

Department of Administration officials say 482 buttons have been installed in offices around the Capitol. DOA spokeswoman Stephanie Marquis says the wireless buttons will send an alert to Capitol police who will respond immediately.

Protesters have routinely congregated in the Capitol to sing songs, hold banners and display signs that are generally in opposition to Gov. Scott Walker and Republicans. Chief David Erwin recently told The Associated Press that he respects the right to demonstrate, but believes some protesters' behavior has crossed into intimidation.

Check out this video from Kos.

Sep 11, 2012

The Consequences of a Lawless Administration and a Sworn Chief just Following Orders

Wisconsin Constitution
Dane County Sheriff Dave Mahoney, we need your help against a lawless Capitol police force acting under orders of the Scott Walker administration.

Capitol police have delivered tickets to sign-holders at their homes and workplace.

This is an act of political intimidation that ought not go unchallenged.

Walker is using the machinery of government to shut down political opposition.

Capitol Police Chief Erwin is reported to have emitted words reminiscent of McCarthy and Nixon: "... [W]e have a group of people that come here, and last week they were holding signs and they are part of this group that, for lack of a better word, are terrorizing people at this Capitol."

What's next? Surveillance? Infiltration? Agents provocateur?

Below is a video of a citizen to whom the Capitol police delivered a citation to his place of work.

U.S. Marshals. Dane County Deputies. We need these forces of law and order as a bulwark against this lawless Walker administration.

Sep 8, 2012

Call Madison Capitol Police; Voice Your Objections: 608 266 8797

Wisconsin Constitution

Update II: John Nichols on Capitol Crackdown-Blame Walker/Huebsch! I disagree with John. The following-orders defense is no defense. Chief Erwin ought to tell DOA Sec. Huebsch his policy is violative of the Wisconsin and U.S. Constitutions; call a press conference and explain to the people of Wisconsin why he as a sworn officer will not violate the rights of the Wisconsin people.

Update: See Expect more free speech tests AND arrests in Wisconsin’s Capitol

Needed now: Dane County Sheriff's Public Defense of Citizen Rights and a Court-ordered escort of Citizens Protesting Politicians.

If citizens are met with more illegal police obstruction from Scott Walker's palace guard, the Madison, Wisconsin Capitol Police, Dane County deputies ought to act to protect the rights of citizens and promote the peace against the actions of Capitol Police.

The Madison, Wisconsin Capitol Police are unlawfully following the dictates of Scott Walker's Dept. of Administration Secretary,  Mike Huebsch.

As writer, Ted Voth Jr., notes: this new policy has veered into fascism.

Wisconsin citizens assembling to protest the actions of politicians such as Walker and Huebsch now reportedly face hostile actions from what Dane County Sheriff Dave Mahoney last year termed the "palace guards" of Scott Walker—those members of the Capitol police who choose to disregard the Wisconsin and United States Constitutions' guarantees of freedom of expression, in favor of careerism and passive compliance to Walker and what can only be termed as his regime.

Walker and Huebsch have found a new ally in their unlawful crusade against lawful dissent:  Dave Erwin who in late August promised a crackdown on citizens assembling to petition our government.

A petulant man, Erwin, walked out of a meeting with state legislators after being asked for the specifics of his policy and how he intends to enforce the lawful rights of Wisconsin citizens.

As Judith Davidoff reports in Isthmus:

Wisconsin state Rep. Chris Taylor (D-Madison) blasted Capitol Police Chief David Erwin Friday afternoon for refusing to answer "basic questions" about the recent arrests at the state Capitol and for abruptly ending a meeting on the topic.

"I was very shocked and disappointed today when you and Department of Administrative Assistant Gwendolyn Coomer walked out of a meeting scheduled in my office," she wrote in a sharply worded letter (PDF) that was hand-delivered to Erwin's office in the state Capitol. Taylor also took the police chief to task for being unable to identify the "specific conduct you believe to be unlawful."

Erwin began enforcing permitting rules for the Capitol this week, resulting in the arrests of some 12 protesters for holding signs.
Now, it is possible that Walker, Huebsch and Erwin will again turn our Capitol into what State Sen. Fred Risser said last year was an "armed fortress." (Nichols)

But citizens have a way of making their voice heard. See Rothschild and Kemble.

Blue Cheddar (in a piece by Worley Dervish) sounds the warning on Friday(see also Voices Newspaper Blog):

The atmosphere today was boisterous and jovial—it’s always great to see so many of our friends gathered together in the People’s House. But there was also a serious side to our signs and our singing and our presence. We highly value our right to free speech, and we’re willing to defend it when it’s threatened. The Capitol police have a duty to uphold the law, the law that guarantees that “the right of the people peaceably to assemble, to consult for the common good, to petition the government, or any department thereof, shall never be abridged.”

So thank you again, Chief Erwin, for providing us with this occasion to sing with our friends in the People’s House, for reminding us of how precious our rights to free speech and free assembly are. Thank you for the opportunity to remind you, Governor Walker, and the people of Wisconsin that we’re still here. We’re still exercising our right to free speech, assembly, and petition. And we’re not going away anytime soon