Crackdown on Dissent Intensifies as DoJ Usurps Authority of Capitol Police

A singer references the title of Governor Walker's new memoir as the Capitol Police deliver citations to another singer. Photo by Lisa Wells.

A singer references the title of Governor Walker’s new memoir as the Capitol Police deliver citations to another singer. Photo by Lisa Wells.

April 6, 2013  by Jason Huberty

Detective Andrew Hyatt oversees the delivery of long-form complaints. Photo by Lisa Wells.

Capitol Police Detective Andrew Hyatt oversees the delivery of long-form complaints. Photo by Lisa Wells.

After a two-month lull, the Walker Administration’s crackdown on dissent in the Wisconsin State Capitol has kicked back into high gear.

On Thursday April 4th, six Capitol Police officers marched down the stairs of the State Street entrance to the Capitol and handed out nine long-form complaints to three participants of the Solidarity Sing Along. One person refused to accept his complaint.

The following day three more people went to the Capitol to pick up their own long-form complaints after being tipped off by information posted to the Wisconsin Circuit Court Access Program database.

In all, fifteen new complaints detailing thirty alleged violations of the Wisconsin Administrative Code were issued retroactively to six people for conduct occurring on the eighteen days between February 4 and March 13, 2013.

The crackdown began when newly-hired Capitol Police Chief David Erwin started issuing citations against participants of the Solidarity Sing Along on August 11, 2012. Since then, 146 citations have been issued to thirty-six people.

Capitol Police march down the stairs to deliver citations. Photo by Dawn Henke.

Capitol Police march down the stairs to deliver citations. Photo by Dawn Henke.

While previous citations were issued by the Capitol Police, the new long-form complaints were issued from the office of the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DoJ).

They are signed on behalf of Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen by the same Assistant Attorneys General currently prosecuting over 60 cases in Dane County Court: Winn Collins, Eric DeFort, and Jeffrey M. Gabrysiak.

Capitol Police Officer Brian Henry attempts to deliver citations. Photo by Lisa Wells.

Capitol Police Officer Brian Henry attempts to deliver citations. Photo by Lisa Wells.

The new long-form complaints differ from previous citations in several ways.

While past citations came with civil forfeitures of $200.50 or $263.50, the new citations prescribe forfeitures of up to $500, plus court costs and fees and, “the costs and disbursements of this action.”

Previous citations were issued for a single count, but several of the the new long-form complaints include multiple counts from several days.

Further, several complaints cross-reference charges for multiple individuals from a single day.

Detective Brian Henry delivers another two long-form complaints. Photo by Dawn Henke.

Detective Henry delivers another two long-form complaints. Photo by Dawn Henke.

This escalation of enforcement by the DOJ comes on the heels of multiple defeats in Dane County Court. To date, nearly seventy citations have been dismissed. Not a single citation has been successfully prosecuted.

WCMC obtained copies of two long-form complaints. We have removed identifying information from the complaints including the defendants’ last names.

Detective Henry listens to a reciting of Article 1 Section 4 of the Wisconsin State Constitution. Photo by Dawn Henke.

Detective Henry listens to a reciting of Article 1 Section 4 of the Wisconsin State Constitution. Photo by Lisa Wells.

Feb 7 Civil Forfeiture Summons

February 12 and 28 Civil Forfeiture Summons

Capitol Police Lieutenant David Davis reacts to the recitation. Photo by Lisa Wells.

Capitol Police Officers David Davis  and Justin Clemens react to the recitation. Photo by Lisa Wells.

The fifteen new long-form complaints were issued to six individuals: Irving S., Ron E., Brian S., Brandon B., Greg K., and Bart M. All have previously received citations and are current targets of DOJ prosecution in Dane County  Court.

Irving S. alone received half of the thirty total counts, while the other five people made up the other half: Ron E. (5), Brandon B. (4), Greg K. (3), Bart M. (2), and Brian S. (1).

Twenty-eight of the counts were for violating the Administrative Code under section 2.14(2)(v) “conducting a picket, rally, parade, or demonstration in the State Capitol Rotunda without prior approval of the DOA.” The other two counts were for violating section 2.07(2) “unlawful display,” in this case chalking on the Capitol sidewalk.

After two turbulent years as Governor, Scott Walker is still obsessively focused on eliminating his greatest opponent, the peaceful singers in the Capitol Rotunda. His administration has been stymied in court with a record of nearly seventy dismissals and zero successful prosecutions, largely due to the ineffectual actions by the Capitol Police.

The DoJ takeover of the crackdown represents a new and dangerous shift in power. It seems the Capitol Police have been stripped of their former autonomy in issuing citations and have been relegated to errand boys and girls for the DoJ. Whereas Walker’s Department of Administration has operational authority over the Capitol, they have ceded their enforcement authority to career civil servants in the DoJ working at the behest of Attorney General Van Hollen.

Advertisements

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

20 Comments on “Crackdown on Dissent Intensifies as DoJ Usurps Authority of Capitol Police”

  1. Susan Fiore April 6, 2013 at 5:36 pm #

    Do the Capitol Police and DoJ people not care at all about freedom in this state? Don’t they have families? It’s hard to understand how they can convince themselves they’re doing the right thing in carrying out these actions.

    • Cece April 12, 2013 at 10:31 am #

      Susan, I am thinking that WI is now a police state. The right to peacefully protest has obviously violated. Will there be law suit concerning this basic rith? Is it a federal law, do you know?

    • Jeremiah Assrocket April 12, 2013 at 10:12 pm #

      There is this to consider: the DoJ is required by statute to take all actions required of it by the governor. The fact that its attorneys fulfill their duties in this respect does not necessarily mean that they personally like the idea of bringing certain actions; it simply means that they wish to continue being career civil servants. It is somewhat unfair under such circumstances to make inferences about the commitments of these dedicated folks solely based upon their doing their jobs.

  2. lol April 6, 2013 at 6:34 pm #

    Seems like so much toilet paper.

  3. Scott Foval (@scottfoval) April 6, 2013 at 7:46 pm #

    Does anyone else think that this thing has risen to the level of an ACLU class action suing the state for violtion of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution? It seems quite obvious to me that this is just a court challenge waiting to happen.

    • Political Fodder April 6, 2013 at 10:51 pm #

      The ACLU has brought a case against the state already on the behalf of a UW profession. I think what really needs to be done is a fundraiser to help defray the costs being incurred byt these citizens who are standing up for 1st Amendment rights.

    • Meg Rothstein April 7, 2013 at 11:00 am #

      What Scott said.

    • Cece April 12, 2013 at 10:34 am #

      Scott, how will the court challenge evolve in a timely manner? Time is of the essence! Do we have some advvocate lawyers who will take this on now? WI is a police state, and it is so contrary to who we are.

    • Jeremiah Assrocket April 12, 2013 at 10:13 pm #

      The federal district court is currently considering a constitutional challenge of that sort, and is expect to rule soon on the motion to preliminarily enjoin any such rules from being enforced.

  4. me April 6, 2013 at 8:07 pm #

    did you ever stop to think that some of the capitol police and people who work in the DOJ don’t want to do these things, and have the attitude of “I just work here” and they are made to do it…..sucks for them too.

    • Cece April 12, 2013 at 10:35 am #

      Cool..thanks for a website with more info on this mess

    • Cece April 12, 2013 at 10:42 am #

      No. me: The capitol police need their jobs, as Walker’s job numbers rate amongst the worst.. There is no ethical reason under the clouds/sun to implement to fascism other than to keep your job

  5. me 2 April 6, 2013 at 10:07 pm #

    wcca.wicourts.gov is “Wisconsin Circuit Court Access Program,” not “Wisconsin Consolidated Court Automation Program.” You may wish to edit.

  6. Ronna swift April 7, 2013 at 6:30 am #

    Military state. Pathetic grab of power.

  7. me 3 April 7, 2013 at 11:36 am #

    How many hours of a day that Walker is actually in the state much less in the Capitol doing state work has he put in trying to keep the Sing-A-Long quiet? Really focused on jobs! Not!

  8. Geraldine Brylski 7859 Alva Lake Rd Lake Tomahawk, WI 54539 April 7, 2013 at 11:37 am #

    This is against our right to free speech and the right to dissent and just an intimadation technique they have to be taken to court because if and when walker is defeated it will still stand for the next person.

  9. Annie April 7, 2013 at 5:30 pm #

    A big waste of taxpayer money, huge constituional violations and just stupid.

  10. tedvothjr April 7, 2013 at 10:20 pm #

    The problem with court cases is the activist right-wing Teabag Supreme Courts they might go up to who’ll find against us…

  11. Joe Thompson April 8, 2013 at 6:09 am #

    I once asked a Capitol policeman if he thought he was a palace guard and he said Yes. I think the mentality of this crew is like that.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: