On Thursday, Scott Walker's capitol police were back at it, arresting nonviolent protesters at the Solidarity Sing Along.
They rounded up more than a dozen singers, including 16-year-old Jack Spaulding. "I just believe we should able to assemble for what we believe," he said after returning to the rotunda with his ticket. "It was OK," he said, "though the cuffs were a little tight," and he showed me the indentations on his wrists.
The cops also nabbed Paula Mohan, a political philosophy professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. It was the second time she's been arrested for singing in ten days.
"The first time it was scary," she said. "They told me public safety matters more than free speech and that the First Amendment has evolved to a point that it doesn't matter anymore."
"This time I was angry," she continued. "The police officer asked me if I was OK. I said no. He said, 'Don't come back.' I said, 'I live in Wisconsin. I care about my constitutional rights.'"
Charles Uphoff, a political activist who ran for the state assembly last year, was also arrested. "It was uncomfortable," he said, "particularly the handcuffs." The police officers told him, "We're just doing our jobs," he recalled. Said Uphoff: "We've heard that before. It's another version of 'We're just following orders.'"
Uphoff was holding copies of Sections 3 and 4 of the Wisconsin Constitution, which guarantee free speech and assembly and the right to petition the government for redress of grievances.
"I asked if I could have them back," he said, "and they said, 'No, we're entering them as evidence.'"
Uphoff said: "That's fine by me."
Susan Pastor was arrested for the first time on Wednesday. "I've never even had a parking ticket before," she said. "I've always figured there'd be a time. This is the time. This is the most arbitrary use of power I've ever seen."
She held a sign that said, "There are more of us than you know."
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