There has been much discussion in Wisconsin over the last five years on when the Governor Scott Walker administration crosses the line and goes beyond our First Amendment constitutional,
“…Right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
Generally, the thinking person would draw the conclusion that violence towards another would cross the line from a constitutionally-protected protest to an illegal act. This is why it was confusing when the Walker administration had Capitol Police start arresting citizens in the Wisconsin Capitol building.
Because they were singing.
Hundreds of people were arrested for taking part in what is known as the Solidarity Singalong, which started in 2011 after the Act 10 protests, and has continued for five years. Every day during the lunch hour, activists still gather in nonviolent protest and sing songs.
In Wisconsin, singing in the Capitol can get you a beat-down.
But to this point, only the last two parts of the First Amendment were so obviously breached. On July 24, 2013, Capitol Police crossed another line by prohibiting the right of the free press.
They arrested a member of the media, who announced himself as a member of the media multiple times, and who wasn’t participating in the singing. He was there, and he looks like a late-80’s alternative rocker, so he became a target.
Apparently, the Capitol Police don’t listen to the radio in Wisconsin.
The man they arrested was Dominic Salvia, the conservative voice on the popular Devil’s Advocates Radio Show. This guy spent years defending Republican Governor Scott Walker to a progressive audience. Mr. Walker best not count on that defense anymore.
You can hear some of the singing and see the entire unconstitutional arrest unfold in the video below:
While Salvia still brings a conservative tilt to the show, he no longer holds much love for Governor Walker. In 2012, Salvia voted for him in a recall election. In 2013, after the above arrest, Salvia sued him.
On Tuesday, Salvia announced that he and his lawyer, Jeff Scott Olson, had accepted a settlement from the state of $75,000, most of which went to Olson for his work on the case (Salvia was able to keep $27,500).
But while Salvia’s case is done, Olson is just getting started. He says he already has approximately 75 clients, a number that could now easily double because of this settlement, that will take part in a massive class-action lawsuit against the Walker Administration’s inability to allow any form of dissent.
This larger lawsuit could be in the millions. Now thanks to the Walker administration’s incompetence, I’ll have to have more of my taxes go towards a payout brought on by my governor’s inability to read one amendment because he spends too much time reading the next one.
Post-arrest, Mr. Salvia was clearly not interested in trying to get back into the governor’s good graces. Instead, he decided to make an example, three examples actually, of Governor Walker’s inept organization and awkward execution of rules not even understood by those tasked with enforcing them.
Let this be a warning, Mr. Walker. There are many groups that you can piss off and get away with it. But do not piss off the press.
Featured image via Youtube screenshot