From my email inbox:

August 28, 2013
National Lawyers Guild Madison Chapter
Contact Patricia K. Hammel 608-279-4136

Attorneys Representing Capitol Dissidents Deplore Capitol Police Brutality and Racial Profiling

Two well publicized arrests of African Americans at the Solidarity Sing Along August 26 in the Wisconsin State Capitol showed Capitol Police officers using excessive force and pain compliance techniques. Christopher (C.J.) Terrell’s arms were wrenched behind him and police applied to pressure to the front and side of his neck to immobilize him, after he sat down during his arrest, then he was dragged out with arms pinned behind him. Six officers tackled Damon Terrell, pinned him to the marble rotunda floor, twisted his wrist, and carried him out in a prone position face down; he was later charged with felony assault of an officer although he appears to be the victim. On August 21 a young woman was arrested using pain compliance as well.

Attorney Jeff Scott Olson, who represents some of the cited activists, said, “Efforts to seek injunctive relief in court against these unlawful police tactics have been contemplated for some time, but have been on the back burner awaiting developments on other fronts. It’s pretty clear we have to put them on the front burner now, before someone gets seriously hurt.”

Observers have noted that the only disturbance or threat to the public safety at the daily Sing Along occurs when Capitol Police emerge to arrest participants. Many participants and spectators were shocked by the degree of physical force used by four to six officers against the Terrells Tuesday and Emily Hoppe last Wednesday. All have been present at recent noontime Sing Alongs along with renewed attendance by union members, teachers, police and fire fighters.

According to attorneys who represent many of the more than 140 people arrested since July 24, the defendants have generally been polite and cooperative, and use of handcuffs and physical force has been far out of proportion to what police need to issue a civil forfeiture ticket. Most people arrested have been charged with participating in an “unlawful assembly” under the Wisconsin Administrative Code, which is not a crime and carries a maximum fine of $500.00. However an increasingly younger and more diverse crowd has turned up the volume and energy of the two and a half year old singing event in response to the July and August “crackdown.”

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker was taped during a fake phone call from “David Koch” in February 2011considering planting provocateurs to instigate violence to discredit opponents during the protests that gave rise to the Sing Along. Activists now speculate that the Capitol Police use of force in arrests may be a deliberate attempt to provoke a violent reaction for a public disturbed by the sight of mass arrests for peaceful protests.

Video of the events, showing excessive use of force by police officers, is available HERE.

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8 Responses to Attorneys Representing Capitol Dissidents Deplore Capitol Police Brutality and Racial Profiling

  1. Duane12 says:

    It’s about time!

  2. EmmaR says:

    I haven’t seen video of the woman’s arrest but the Terrell brothers looked like they knew full well what they were doing. Those two come across as completely full of sh$/. Steve Carlson probably is right (and I was wrong) about the path this is going down. Seems like both the graceless Capitol Police and the honorable singers in the group are getting set up by the manipulative, axe-to-grind, personal agenda types on all sides of the issue.

    • Duane12 says:

      Emma, or should I say, Ms.R? You may call me Duane, Mr.D, DuaneD or brother Dubey.

      Indeed, the singers are “honorable” as another video you also did not see documents one of them calling all to remain calm and continue singing in view of excessive force by Erwin’s charges. And let’s wait until the “brothers” have their day in court amidst late-breaking formal charges of Capitol “police brutality and racial profiling” have been resolved before we conclude the brothers are “completely full of sh$/.”

      Perhaps, the two brothers may be guilty of “zealotry,” but then so is Walker if you accept the definition of zealotry as, “a person who is fanatical and uncompromising in pursuit of their religious, political, or other ideals.” There is nothing more that Walker, the zealot, would like IMO than to shut down the Capitol building attributing public safety issues due to a non-violent, Solidarity Sing Along at noon on week days.

      And so Walker is using the coward, Huebsch and an overpaid public “hit man” Erwin to enforce his “change the rules” to provoke violence and set up a false cause to infringe upon the rights of speech, assembly, and dissent. Divide and conquer? You bet!

      Emma, i seems to me you attempt to introduce a false argument or to minimize the freedom rights issue that this is all about as “…set up by the manipulative, axe-to-grind, personal agenda types on all sides of the issue.”

      IT IS NOT !!!

      It is about an injustice by an incompetent governor, an attempt to suppress speech, deny petition, and intimidate lawful assemblage under Wisconsin AND the U.S. Constitutions.

      • EmmaR says:

        Nah, I saw that video too and many others which is why I can state with certainty that the singers are honorable people. They’re fun and zany and lift weary spirits but as Carlson pointed out, they don’t accomplish much. I didn’t care before but seeing how they’re so vulnerable to manipulatation by trouble-makers and cynical attorneys – and that’s one of the more deeply cynical letters I’ve ever read posted above – I’m worried they’ll end up vilified and in the end by Walker and then it becomes that much tougher for other good people trying to oppose his policies.

        • Duane12 says:

          “,,,singers…they don’t accomplish much…as Carlson pointed out…”

          Unbelievable! Do you really believe what you are saying?

          With no disrespect, the SSA is not trying to satisfy Steve’s or your standard of accomplishment. The singers of SSA are doing their thing using natural talents to satisfy their conscience, their political standard, their understanding of the State and Federal Constitution.

          The singers are accomplishing far more than EmmaR, Steve Carlson or Duane12 at least currently up to this point IMO. I applaud and am proud of the SSA effort.

          Accomplishment can only be finally judged as to its effectiveness at the end of an effort.

  3. Paul says:

    While I do find certain “Singers” to be personally offensive, self aggrandizing jackasses, that in no way justifies the use of physical force and violence to issue a ticket. The Capitol Police are trained, professionals entrusted with the power and responsibility to enforce the law properly and need to be held to that standard. If they can’t do that, they should not be officers of the law. The Terrell brothers were no threat to public safety and even if there was some petty, personal provocation offered that in no way shape or form make the response proportionate or acceptable. The blame is not shared in this situation, it belong squarely on the shoulders of authority.

  4. Mikey says:

    It’s called civil disobedience. Sorry if it makes you uncomfortable but the governor is a thug. People have a god damned right to be there.

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