Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Tin Soldiers, Tin Badges

Last week, I pointed out that rights are becoming rather scarce in Fitzwalkerstan, especially the right of Free Speech.

Not only is the constitutional right to Free Speech becoming increasingly scarce, but the brownshirts are getting downright violent to anyone who tries to exercise it.

In Madison, the new commandant of the Capital Police, Dave Erwin, is already trying to make a name for himself by cracking down on peaceful protesters. Because you know, people singing about workers rights is a threat to our society or something like that.

And how far is Erwin willing to go to return "normalcy" to the Capitol? Well, as far as condoning violence, apparently with or without just cause:
Erwin recently met with legislative aides who were feeling threatened or intimidated by protesters who have come into the aides' offices to berate them and have followed them to their cars. He suggested they try filming a demonstrator and, if that didn't work, punching the person with their free hand.

"I said if it wasn't working you could try to hit them," Erwin said.

Rep. Brett Hulsey (D-Madison) had a person in his office with a box cutter in the spring of 2011 and said he thought it was a good idea that Capitol police are having panic buttons installed in some legislative offices so staff could call police in an emergency.

But after talking with several aides who were in the meeting with Erwin, Hulsey said it was bizarre advice to recommend hitting someone with police nearby. He said several Democratic aides left the meeting early because they were taken aback by Erwin's suggestion.

"I was kind of amazed by that," Hulsey said.
But Madison isn't the only place with this new breed of stormtrooper.

In Milwaukee, under the auspices of the Cowboy Sheriff, David Clarke, there has been an incident of violence by a deputy against an innocent Overpass Light Brigade protester.

From the press release issued by Voces de la Frontera and the OLB is a description of the course of events:
Milwaukee police arrived at the bridge around 9:00 pm, after supporters had been holding lights reading "PALERMOS - NEGOTIATE" for about an hour. The first MPD responders stated they had been called to the bridge by the Milwaukee County Sheriffs Department. They stated that they were unsure as to why they had been called, and waited for the Sheriffs Department to show up.

Deputy Callies of the Sheriff's Department soon arrived and immediately stormed on to the bridge, which was filled with striking Palermo workers and their families holding signs, including several young children. Around 30 people were present in total, including many community supporters. Deputy Callies demanded that the lights be taken down and turned off. He then stated loudly that he would be arresting everyone on the bridge for disorderly conduct.

At this point, close to twenty police vehicles had arrived or were en route (witnesses counted one paddy wagon, two bicycle police, two motorcycle police, six Milwaukee police squads, including a K-9 unit, and nine Milwaukee County Sheriff vehicles). Lisa Moline of OLB tried to reason with Deputy Callies, who grew more and more agitated that he was being challenged on the constitutionality of his order to shut the message down.

As the video clearly captures, Deputy Callies then turned around lunged at a woman who was videotaping his tirade. He forcibly reached for her camera, pushing himself into her (most likely realizing she had just captured his entire episode digitally). In the process, he grabbed the woman’s arm and ripped the camera phone out of her hand, giving no explanation for the confiscation, despite pleading efforts from the woman as to why her camera phone was stolen. He then tore another supporter's phone away in the exact same manner. Click here for videos of the above incident.

Eventually more officers arrived on the bridge. Many of the MPD officers seemed uncomfortable with the actions of Deputy Callies, and once he left the bridge, one officer told supporters they could go back onto the bridge with the lights, and that it was “all a misunderstanding". By that point, many supporters were intimidated by the Sheriff department's actions and had already left.

The OLB has had countless visits by numerous local law enforcement agencies during their bridge actions of the past nine months. They have always been calm and civil, and have repeatedly resulted in the reaffirmation of the legality of their actions. Office Callies' aggressive response is the single exception to this respectful relationship.

Voces de la Frontera and OLB will be filing a Freedom of Information Act request to determine the process for which orders were given for Friday's action to be broken up- and why this particular message led to this particular response. Additional charges against Deputy Callies are currently being filed by the woman whose hand was injured when he grabbed her cell phone.

We are also asking the many elected officials who have endorsed and supported Voces and OLB actions in the past to demand a public investigation of this unacceptable violation of freedom of speech.
And from the website for Occupy Riverwest is some raw footage of the assault:

Fortunately, despite the Republicans' best efforts, we are still a land of laws, and their attempt at totalitarian rule is not working. The people involved with the Milwaukee incident have filed a complaint against the deputy in question and have filed open records requests to find out who gave which orders and when. Likewise, in Madison, the ACLU is ready to step in and teach Chief Erwin an expensive lesson on the Constitution.

As the saying goes, it's hard to keep a good man down. And Wisconsin is chock full of good men and women that won't stay down and won't stay silenced until we have our state back.


  1. So we now have two levels of citzenship in Wisconsin: First Class citizens such as legislators and their aides who can assault annoying people at will and Second Class citizens who must learn accept a beating from the First Class citizens.

    I'd like to see what justification there is under state law for assaulting annoying people. Does this mean I can finally pound the crap out of missionaries and vinyl siding salesmen?

  2. If this becomes law of the land, is there a more annoying person in Wisconsin than Scott Suder??

  3. The hiring of this Erwin fellow, given his hostility toward protest or citizen politics, is a bigger outrage than most committed in the last 2 years. It's not getting enough coverage. By the way, this story of thugs, violence, and damage during the Wisconsin Uprising is the Walker Admin's version of WMD -- a lie they need to be true.