Three Capitol Police officers yesterday threw a protester to the ground, piled on top of him and pinned him by his neck before handcuffing and charging him with felony battery and resisting arrest, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and other sources.
In a video of the attack posted on YouTube, Damon Terrell can be seen observing the daily “Solidarity Sing Along” in the Capitol Rotunda in Madison when several officers approach him in a menacing manner. As he backs away from the officers, they lunge at him, drag him off to the side and pin him on the ground.
In the YouTube video, bystanders can be heard chanting, “Shame, shame, shame,” at the officers.
Some witnesses told media that Terrell, whose brother also was arrested during the incident, was merely photographing the sing along and not participating. The two are said to be frequent demonstrators at the Capitol.
While the law limits the number of protesters, it is not illegal to observe demonstrations.
More than 300 protesters have been arrested at the Capitol since Republicans launched an aggressive crackdown one month ago as Gov. Scott Walker prepares to run for re-election next year. Capitol Police Chief Dave Erwin was awarded a controversial and retroactive 12-percent pay raise for his efforts.
The legality of Erwin’s raise is under scrutiny because it was only made possible by maneuvering around state law to give him a temporary “ghost” job – a job that rewards favored cronies with government money but does not require them to work.
The felony battery charge against Damon Terrell is the most severe since protests began at the Capitol in February 2011.