Friday, September 21, 2012

Wisconsin police object to crackdown on protest at Capitol

Police officers in Madison, Wisc., are denouncing a recent crackdown on the small, almost daily protests that continue in the Statehouse. Job-killer Gov. Scott Walker is demanding that peaceful protesters be intimidated and arrested.

The protesters mostly hold banners and signs and sing, reports the blue cheddar blog. But under newly appointed Chief David Erwin, Capitol police are arresting people for silently holding a sign, delivering citations to their homes and workplaces and even handcuffed a disabled woman who then passed out and was hospitalized.

The Madison Professional Police Officers Association and the Dane County Deputy Sheriffs Association issued a statement denouncing the crackdown. They don't blame the officers for following their orders; in fact, the Madison police and deputy sheriffs say they're concerned for the safety of the officers:
We believe that the recent policy change at the Capitol presents a substantial safety risk to the officers who are tasked with its implementation. Simply stated, these officers are being forced into emotionally charged confrontations that are neither necessary nor advisable.
And they also note the Capitol police are not protected by a contract since Walker took their collective bargaining rights away:
The Capitol Police officers are also the only participants in this situation who stand to lose their livelihood and ability to support their families. These officers are particularly vulnerable due to the fact that they lost their collective bargaining rights with countless other public employees under Act 10. This statement is as much a statement in support of these officers as it is a statement condemning the policies of the DOA and the leadership of the Capitol Police. These officers are being placed in an impossible position.
They ask Walker to "respect the core values and freedoms upon which this great state and nation were founded, and cease their infringement upon these freedoms."

They conclude, "If the current trajectory of these policies continues, we do not believe that history will judge the leaders of this state kindly with respect to the free speech rights of its citizens."

That boat may have sailed already.