Wed July 24, 2013
Police Arrest 22 At Solidarity Sing Along Inside Capitol Building
Police arrested 22 people today in the state Capitol rotunda for holding a noontime sing-along without a permit.
It was the largest show of force since officers began ticketing the group more than a year ago.
All last week, police told members of the daily Solidarity Sing-along that they were holding an unlawful event and were subject to arrest. Today, police gave the same warning verbally and posted it on a placard in the middle of the rotunda before teams of officers moved in with plastic zip-tie handcuffs to arrest protesters who would not leave.
The charges were for violating Wisconsin's administrative code for gatherings on state property, or as the citations more succinctly read, “no permit.” If convicted, people would be fined $200.50.
Among those arrested was Jason Huberty, who says he's been ticketed two dozen times at the capitol. Huberty was cuffed and ticketed twice today and says he'll be back tomorrow.
“I don't think there's too many times you can exercise your rights,” he says. “It's not as though there should be a limit to the number of times people can come down here.”
Also arrested today was Margit Moses, a legal assistant who said she felt she needed to be there to assert her rights. Moses said this was her first arrest.
“It hurt,”she said. “The officer was kind. He said I'm going to do this loosely. He said don't slip your hands out. But it still hurt. And it's humiliating and it's infuriating.”
The Department of Administration issued a statement citing a recent court decision as its grounds for the arrests. In that ruling, Federal Judge William Conley temporarily blocked the state's permitting system for groups of 20 people or fewer, but today's group and most noontime sing-alongs are larger than that.