Capitol police issue 25 no-permit citations to 22 singers
Arrests follow court ruling on assembly inside Capitol
A total of 25 no-permit citations were issued Wednesday to 22 people, according to a release. The fine associated with a no-permit citation is $200.50.
One person also received a disorderly conduct citation for spitting on a singer/protester, officials said.
Police have been warning protesters they may be arrested for over a week, but this is the first day they have taken any action against singers inside the Capitol.
The arrests follow a ruling by a federal judge in a lawsuit involving the state and the American Civil Liberties Union.
The ACLU filed a federal lawsuit in February on behalf of a person who regularly gathers in the Capitol over the noon hour to sing protest songs.
U.S. District Judge William Conley issued a preliminary injunction barring the Walker administration from distinguishing the type of gathering for purposes of issuing a permit. Conley also barred enforcing the permit requirement for gatherings expected to draw 20 or fewer people.
The state put the new regulations in place following protests in 2011, where thousands of people occupied the Capitol to protest a new law restricting state unions.
State officials are defending the arrests. “Judge Conley ruled several weeks ago that the state’s permit process is constitutional," said Wisconsin Department of Administration spokesperson Stephanie Marquis. "The Capitol police are upholding the law to ensure the building can be shared by all citizens who come to the Capitol.”
Sen. Bob Jauch told News 3 he was troubled by the arrests.
"I've been to Moscow and I felt safer there than I do in our own state capitol," he said. "I'm really bothered with the notion that even being here might constitute some violation."
Watch video recorded at about 12:20 p.m. Wednesday as singers were arrested at the Capitol
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