State pays protester $19,000 to settle lawsuit
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The state of Wisconsin has paid a Capitol protester $19,000 to settle a lawsuit stemming from a 2011 altercation in which a state employee stabbed himself when popping her red heart-shaped balloon.
Leslie Peterson filed the civil lawsuit against Department of Administration worker Ron Blair. He pleaded guilty to a disorderly conduct charge in November 2011, but it was dismissed after he completed a deferred prosecution agreement.
Peterson’s attorney Jeff Scott Olson said Tuesday that Peterson was paid $19,000 last week by the state to settle the civil lawsuit. Department of Administration spokeswoman Stephanie Marquis had no immediate comment.
Blair said at the time that he popped Peterson’s balloon, accidentally stabbing himself in the process, because he was tired of retrieving balloons from the ceiling of the Capitol.