New WI Capitol Police “Tactics” Include Theft And Fraudulent Child Services Complaints
It has been a long and hard battle here in Wisconsin. While the media has basically turned a blind eye to our struggle, the fight is still very much alive in a lot more ways than just the recall. Back in February and March we had thousands of people a day flooding the square. Every weekday since we have had 50-150 people return for the Solidarity Sing Along. And a smaller group of about 20-40 regulars, myself included, who stick around and attend meetings or participate in some civil disobedience. To the majority of the country (people who rely solely on mainstream news), the fight in Wisconsin mostly died in March. But to the police, politicians, and dedicated citizens, the fight never died and is still very much alive. We have won several battles so far. For instance, we won the ability to hold signs in the First floor of the Capitol. We won the ability to hold signs in committee meetings and to film them. The galleries, however, are a constant battle.
The job of a police officer and police chief, is to protect and serve the public. Another job is to uphold the Constitution. But here in the Capitol the job has turned more into a battle for absolute control of public dissent. And while some of the individual officers view themselves as just doing a job, the ones in control are getting more and more frustrated as they move further and further away from control of the people. The state has spent millions of dollars on excessive police in the Capitol. The protesters have not once been violent, yet they continue to put tens to hundreds of police in the building. More than a year later, however, activists are still getting arrested. Just last week several, including myself, were arrested for silently holding signs. But some new tactics were shown this week and an old tactic brought back up that is enough to sicken anyone.
The first new “tactic” is plain and simple theft. As some may recall, six of us activists, myself included were convicted of misdemeanor charges for a sit-in at the Capitol. Department of Homeland Security trainer and Capitol Police Chief ,Charles Tubbs, was present at the trial. Citizen photographer and journalist Leslie Amsterdam and videographer Arthur Kohl-Riggs of SSWIDTS were present in the media box. The only other media present was the MacIver institute a right-wing propaganda group funded mainly by Koch Industries. They have even accused protesters of being funded by the 1% because they had legal defense funds on ActBlue. Chief Tubbs was also present at the trial and gave mean glares to Arthur throughout the trial. But rather than address his grievances with Arthur, Tubbs tried a different tactic. Later that night Arthur went to the Assembly gallery as they were in session. While Arthur disagrees with the rules prohibiting filming in the galleries, he is not one for confrontation so always abides by them.
Arthur, knowing the rules, was sure to turn his camera off before entering the gallery. He doesn’t go anywhere without his camera and it is far too expensive to leave sitting outside the gallery especially since you cannot see outside due to the windows being covered up so that no one can see in or out. He sat down to observe the session and put the camera on his lap so that it was clear that it was both off and not pointed at anyone or on the floor. Arthur was told he could not have his camera on him in the gallery. He reiterated that it was not filming and left. He went back in and covered his camera up so it was clear that it was not filming anything. He was then arrested and given a ticket for Disorderly Conduct. Twice he was shoved against the wall. Video of the confrontation can be viewed in this article. The fact that he was arrested for possessing a camera is ridiculous on its own, but the story gets even worse. The police then took Arthur’s camera and said it was evidence. Arthur informed them many times that it was illegal to seize property as evidence for an offense that is not criminal and that the camera does not constitute evidence. To date, more than a week later, Arthur still does not have his camera. He was told if he filed a complaint for theft he would be arrested for a felony of filing false complaints. But Tubbs got what he wanted. The ability to control what video of the trial is released (MacIver) and which one isn’t (Arthurs). At least for the time being.
Why might Chief Tubbs want to suppress Arthur from editing his video of the whole trial and posting it? The answer to that is simple. Chief Tubbs clearly lied in many points throughout his testimony. Additionally, in the video shown in trial, Tubbs clearly showed he was willing to stoop low to scare parents away from involving kids in the process. I am referring to fraudulent complaints to child services. During the trial we watched this video. In this video Marley is arrested. Marley is the son of Leslie, in June of 2011 he was 16. He was arrested in an action where he linked arms with fellow protesters. When he was taken in they would not let his mother in and the State Patrol person threatened to charge his mother with Reckless Endangerment because he got arrested. Marley is politically active and fully able to make his own decisions. But in the video we watched from August, when Marley was arrested, Chief Tubbs threatened to call child services on Leslie around the 34 minute mark.
Child protective services exists for people to call in complaints when children are legitimately being neglected. Chief Tubbs has told many parents whose children wanted to get involved and protest that it is improper to bring your children to protest. Chief Tubbs, however, should refrain from offering parenting advice. Because while Leslie’s son may have been arrested and while others may bring their children to protests, Tubbs kids are both felons. His one son is an arsonist, convicted of multiple accounts for burning down people’s houses. His other son has physically assaulted women and apparently a frequent breaker of restraining orders. But it seems Tubbs not only judges these parents, whose children are model members of society. He actually uses child services as a tactic. And it doesn’t seem to have stopped at Leslie. Just recently Craig Spaulding, another frequent protester, had a complaint for bringing his daughter to the protests. Ironically, the only time Emma has been hurt was when officer Stephen Mael of Tubbs’ own Capitol Police violently grabbed her arm causing a contusion. Child services paid a visit and the complaint was immediately thrown out. But signs point more and more to Tubbs having initially called it in. After all he has threatened it many times.
So what can we do about this? Well for one we can share this article. Unless this gets out, theft and fraudulent complaints will become the norm in the Capitol. And then call the Capitol Police at 608-266-7700 and demand they return Arthur’s camera and stop calling child services on parents who are simply being good parents and getting their children involved in the democratic process. On the ground we will continue fighting. One day longer! One day stronger!
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Note: Segway Jeremy Ryan has become a full-time member of the protests at the Wisconsin State Capitol. Formerly a businessman, he gave up his business to join the fight for the middle class in the State of Wisconsin. Through videos and writings he has informed hundreds of thousands of people about what was going on at the Wisconsin State Capitol once the mainstream media had mostly abandoned the protests. His full-time activism is completely funded by the people. If you would like to help out please click here.