January 27, 2012 by Barbara With
Republicans in the Assembly Session last night, in the process of passing highly controversial mining legislation, claimed they were seeking “decorum” when they ordered law enforcement to clear the gallery of all visitors. Throughout the day, citizens were removed from the gallery for minor verbal outbursts, sign holding and use of cameras, although none were issued tickets by police. But when two protesters sitting in the front row of the gallery hung a giant yellow “BURY THE BILL” banner over the rail, the order to empty the gallery was finally given.
After being forced from the gallery by Capitol Police, State Troopers and DNR Game Wardens, protesters crowded into the area outside the doors to the Assembly chamber, chanting “BURY THE BILL!,” singing, and making as much noise as possible so that those inside could know exactly how their legislation was being received. Representatives Chris Taylor, Kelda Roys and Brett Hulsey came out periodically to talk with protestors and offer their support.
Well into the protest, CJ and Damon Terrell arrived with a drum. CJ shouted “MIC CHECK!,” and asked the crowd if they were agreeable to some drumming. He got many positive “sparkle fingers” in response. Police, who had already pulled people out of the way and moved in closer to CJ, immediately apprehended him. They moved quickly, dragging him to a waiting elevator, ignoring his screams that his wrists were being hurt. Capitol Police Chief Charles Tubbs bear-hugged Damon as the police were cuffing him, telling him “It’s going to be ok” over and over. Damon was eventually strapped to a gurney, in accordance with new DOA policy for anyone unable or unwilling to walk during an arrest. Meanwhile, other officers moved Damon towards the second elevator. CJ and Damon, who have both been arrested previously for protesting Walker’s agenda, were each charged with Disorderly Conduct, Resisting and Obstruction, and Bail Jumping.
Earlier in the day, around noon, another disorderly conduct ticket was issued for drumming in the capitol. Sam Morris of the Bad River tribe initially attempted to drum on the first floor of the capitol, but Capitol Police told him he couldn’t drum. When one officer mentioned that his drumming interfered with the Solidarity Sing Along (which was taking place at the same time), someone from the Sing Along suggested to Sam that he come to the ground floor and drum inside the Sing Along circle. There was confusion as to the rules on drumming in the capitol, as Capitol Police Chief Charles Tubbs had “allowed” another tribe member to perform a drum prayer as a religious observance at some point in the morning.
As has been evidenced repeatedly under Scott Walker’s reign, the rules, and enforcement of the rules in the capitol, are unclear and inconsistent.
(Whitney Thid’s video of officer telling Sam he can’t drum because it interferes with Sing Along)