Wisconsin lawmaker threatened with arrest for observing progressive protest

By Eric W. Dolan
Wednesday, August 7, 2013 19:25 EDT
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Officer confonts woman in the Wisconsin Capitol (Screenshot)
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A Wisconsin lawmaker and a state official were both threatened with arrest on Tuesday for observing a progressive “Solidarity Sing Along” protest at the state Capitol.

State Rep. Sondy Pope (D-Middleton) and executive secretary Tia Nelson of the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands told Isthmus they were threatened with arrest by a Capitol Police officer. The officer told the two women that anyone who stood to watch the protest rather than moving along was subject to arrest.

“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?” told Isthmus.

A video uploaded to YouTube on Tuesday showed another woman being warned by a police officer.

“He told me that it has been declared an unlawful event because there are more than 20 people here. I told him that I was not with that group, that I was watching, and that even though I was just watching, just videoing, I had to leave or I would be subject to arrest,” the woman said.

The almost-daily “Solidarity Sing Along” began during the 2011 budget protests, when Republicans launched an assault on public employee unions. In July, a judge ruled that groups of more than 20 people could not gather in the Wisconsin Capitol without a permit. Police have issued more than 100 citations to protesters so far.

A police spokeswoman told the Associated Press only participants, and not observers, would be ticketed.

Watch video, uploaded to YouTube, below:

Eric W. Dolan
Eric W. Dolan
Eric W. Dolan has served as an editor for Raw Story since August 2010, and is based out of Sacramento, California. He grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and received a Bachelor of Science from Bradley University. Eric is also the publisher and editor of PsyPost. You can follow him on Twitter @ewdolan.
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