Just when it seemed like the Capitol Crackdown had slowed down again, five new citations were issued over the weekend.
Three citations were given out on Saturday morning during an anti-abortion rally on the State Street steps of the Capitol.
Two women with a small group protesting the rally were chalking messages on the sidewalk while others from the rally used snow to try to remove the chalkings.
Capitol Police Officers Gary Bauer and Mike Syphard made contact with the chalkers. They demanded one of them women tell them her name. Asked if she was under arrest, the officers replied she was not. She declined to give her name, and the officers placed her under arrest.
A friend of the arrested woman placed her hand on the other woman’s arm in a gesture of sympathy then quickly withdrew her hand.
As Officer Syphard walked away, he stated to the arrested woman that her friend was always obstructing him and he would come back to take her to jail.
Officer Syphard returned shortly with Officer Chris Weiss, and they placed the second woman under arrest. The woman’s husband reached into his coat pocket to get his camera.
Officer Weiss yelled at the man to get his hand out of his pocket and told his fellow officer, “This is serious. Chalking is a crime.”
They took the woman to the Capitol basement, searched her pockets, and told her she could be going to jail. The women waited together in the basement for half an hour while other police officers came into and left the room. They were eventually released, and no one went to jail.
The first woman was issued a citation under the Wisconsin Administrative Code for 2.14(2)(zd) “other conduct prohibited/chalking.” The second woman was issued two citations, one misdemeanor under the Wisconsin State Statutes for 946.41 “obstructing/resisting” and one citation under section 2.08 of the Administrative Code.
While in custody, the second woman was asked by Officer Syphard what she had been ticketed for in the past. She told him 2.08, a code that had been used to cite people for holding banners inside the Capitol, not for chalking on the sidewalk. When he realized the mistake, Officer Syphard came outside at the end of the Solidarity Sing Along, walked the woman across the street, and changed the citation to 2.14(2)(zd) “other conduct prohibited – chalking.”
Two additional citations were hand-delivered by the Capitol Police to people’s homes on Sunday morning.
Three Capitol Police Officers in two squad cars made the half hour drive out to Waunakee, making their first delivery around 10:00 am, then drove back to the east side of Madison for the second delivery at 10:50 am. These home deliveries have been called “candygrams” after the Saturday Night Live skit.
Such are Walker’s palace guard, land sharks invading the privacy of people’s homes on a Sunday to deliver citations while many people are enjoying the day at church.
Both citations were issued under the Administrative Code for 2.14(2)(v) “obstruct access passage etc. (no permit).”
The second candygram was caught on video by the recipient, a retired 69-yr old woman who got her first citation today.
In the video, the woman repeatedly asks the police why she was designated a leader. Officer James Brooks tells her that the place for arguing is in court. She insists she was never designated a leader. Officer Brooks tells her the police designated her a leader because she called out song numbers during the sing along.
She responds, “You guys are in charge of designating the leader of the Sing-a-long now?”
Her dog can be seen in the video running outside, and the woman seems genuinely concerned something will happen to him. “I don’t trust you people,” she says.
With Walker’s palace guard making home deliveries on a Sunday morning, why should she?