Wisconsin State Constitution (Article 1, Section 4) states: The right of the people peaceably to assemble, to consult for the common good, and to petition the government, or any department thereof, shall never be abridged.

Apparently Wisconsin State Capitol Police officers, who the last time I checked swore an oath to uphold the Wisconsin Constitution, have decided that they’d rather do Chief Dave Erwin’s bidding so they can keep their $4 per hour pay raise rather than upholding the Constitution as they swore they would.

Watch as Capitol Police officers arrest a woman with a child for the crime of singing.

Not content with their arrest of the woman in the video above, Capitol Police also arrested Phil Gerboc, a Franciscan friar, as well as a Lutheran pastor who subsequently suffered a cardiac incident.

This is absolutely shameful, and the glorified security guards who are effecting arrests of retirees, moms, and clergy for nothing more than free speech and assembly ought to be ashamed of themselves.

5 Responses to VIDEO: When a pay raise trumps an oath to uphold the Constitution

  1. forgotmyscreenname says:

    What is shameful is the inability of these people to follow simple rules. No one is impeding their right to assemble. They can do so outside. If they choose to reserve the limited public space that should be accessible to all, they can simply apply for a permit. Without the permit system, what prevents 20 different groups from going into that space and talking, yelling, or singing over each other? Permits for rallies, protests, parades, etc. have been fairly common for many years.

    I wonder how long it would take for you to call the police if I brought a large group of people to shout in front of your house to harass, er I mean “sing”, to you. Hey, I’m standing on a public sidewalk or in a public street, so you should have no problem. Or how about I block traffic on your way to work as I march down the middle of the street with my protest. Is this allowed in the U.S. Capitol? I wonder how it would fly down at the Milwaukee or Madison City Hall. Two words to these people: grow up.

    • “Or how about I block traffic on your way to work as I march down the middle of the street with my protest.”

      Do that and you’d be guilty of an unlawful assembly.

      An “unlawful assembly” includes an assembly of persons who assemble for the purpose of blocking or obstructing the lawful use by any other person, or persons of any private or public thoroughfares, property or of any positions of access or exit to or from any private or public building, or dwelling place, or any portion thereof and which assembly does in fact so block or obstruct the lawful use by any other person, or persons of any such private or public thoroughfares, property or any position of access or exit to or from any private or public building, or dwelling place, or any portion thereof.

      However, we’re not talking about folks marching down the middle of the street; we’re talking about folks gathering in the State Capitol to sing.

  2. AnonyBob says:

    Zach,
    You’re directing your ire at the wrong people. I’ve spoken with some of the Capitol Police officers. Privately, they’re unhappy as hell about carrying out these arrests. They understand it just escalates things and makes them look bad. None of them went into law enforcement to arrest little old ladies for singing. Most are also highly cognizant and appreciative of our constitutional rights, but they don’t have any choice here. No, blame for this should be directed solely at those responsible: the Gov, DOA Secretary Huebsch and Chief Erwin. Zach, don’t blame the workers for the orders of the bosses.
    AnonyBob

    • I’m not a huge fan of the “I was just following orders” defense when it comes to “following orders” that so clearly violate State Statutes.

      I’ve read and re-read what State Statutes define as an unlawful assembly, and I don’t think any reasonable person would define the Solidarity Singers as an unlawful assembly as defined by the Statutes.

    • Duane12 says:

      Bob, there is at least one more to blame in addition to Huebsch and Erwin. Let’s include Walker.

      Also, the officers ticketing and removing non-singers are either guilty of ignorance of the law on what constitutes an “unlawful assembly,” or by those who do know but whose conscience is corrupted by following an apparent illegal order from Erwin. We all remember the defense in a former sad period of history, “I was just following orders.”

      My impression of the Capitol police in these incidents is either they lack knowledge required in their profession or if they do know, then they are moral cowards.

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