Scott Walker’s Cops Back Down

Bet he has his thugs enforce against antri-abortion folks too. NAH, who are we kidding?-OEN

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has finally realized that after over a month-long crackdown on people singing protest and labor songs in the state capitol, it's far less financially and politically costly to just let the people sing. (photo: Jenna Pope)
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has finally realized that after over a month-long crackdown on people singing protest and labor songs in the state capitol, it’s far less financially and politically costly to just let the people sing. (photo: Jenna Pope)

Wisconsin governor Scott Walker has finally realized after over a month-long crackdown on people singing protest and labor songs in the state capitol, during which capitol police arrested more than 200 singers and issued roughly 350 citations between late July and early September (I was personally arrested 5 times), that it’s far less costly financially and politically to just let the people sing.

In the aftermath of a settlement between the ACLU and the Wisconsin Department of Administration (DOA), the DOA is changing their permit policy, capitol police are no longer arresting people for singing, and attorneys representing the singers are confident that the remaining citations for “no permit/unlawful assembly” will eventually be dismissed. The citations are still being prosecuted, but an overwhelming number of them have already resulted in dismissals.

Originally, the Walker DOA issued restrictions on groups larger than four against assembling without first asking the capitol police for permission. A federal judge threw that out in a preliminary injunction in June, but has yet to make a final decision on restrictions of groups larger than 20. Now, all a group larger than 12 people has to do is give a “public notice” that they intend to assemble in the capitol rotunda on a given day and time. Some Solidarity Singalong participants rightly call this an abridgement of free speech and free assembly, but are still celebrating the fact that capitol police have backed down from making arrests. When the final ruling on the DOA’s permitting rules comes down in January of 2014, it’s likely that, considering an overwhelming number of citations issued to singers have been dismissed in court, Judge Conley will strike down the remaining restrictions on public assembly as unconstitutional.

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