Remember Damon Terrell, the Wisconsin videographer who was tackled by police then accused of felonious battery during one of the daily Solidarity Sing Alongs in the State Capitol?
The Dane County district attorney, after a lengthy delay, finally said never mind. Score one for First Amendment rights—and sanity.
Terrell was arrested—which was videotaped—as he was taking video of the singalong, and the cops who were moving in to disrupt it. The arrest was brutal: He was tackled, wrestled to the ground, cuffed and hauled off. Terrell is among scores of people who have been arrested for taking part or watching the noontime protests, an egregious response by Gov. Scott Walker to a simple exercise of First Amendment rights.
Among those arrested were Progressive editor Matt Rothschild, whose magazine has this update on the “case” against Terrell:
Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne asked the arraignment judge to schedule a charging hearing for September 12 so that he could thoroughly examine the police reports and video evidence to determine what, if any, charges to bring against Terrell. At that hearing Ozanne said he was still sorting through the evidence and needed until September 23 to make a decision.
Yesterday DA Ozanne declined to prosecute any of the charges leveled against Terrell by the Capitol Police: felony battery of a police officer and misdemeanor resisting arrest and disorderly conduct. Ozanne said that after a thorough review of the evidence, there was not enough to meet the burden of proof required to make the charges stick in court.
The Progressive notes that Terrell still faces possible civil court action, despite being there to record the arrests, not to take part in the protest (charges against Rothschild also have been dropped). The good news: Terrell says he’s pursuing a civil case of his own against the Capitol Police, and may seek an injunction against further trampling of obviously protected actions, including the right to film a news event in a public space. And, for that matter, of a song-delivered protest against the anti-worker actions of Walker and Wisconsin’s GOP-dominated legislature.
The Progressive notes that there have been no arrests since Sept. 6, and the emergency rules under which the protesters and observers had been arrested expired on Sept. 12. So it’s uncertain what Walker’s next step might be.
But the protesters have no intention of going away. So if you’re in Madison some weekday lunchtime and have nothing else to do …
—Posted by Scott Martelle.
Movieing Memories (CC BY 2.0)