After months of mostly peaceful protests this last month or so has seemed to escalate here in Wisconsin. It started with former Republican State Senator David Zien and his band of thugs coming to the Capitol and starting a fight in which the Tea Partiers draped flags over protesters faces and without being struck, put the Pizza Box Guy, Mike Dickman, in a neckhold and punching him several times in the face. There were a few isolated incidents before this such as Legislative Photographer Jay Salvo grabbing Arthurs camera and Officer Stephen Mael violently grabbing my wrist to suppress a camera, but these incidents had no injuries. Well today, when I was at home recovering from surgery things took a real spiral and a protesters life was put at risk.
It started when Leslie, one of the Capitol “den mothers”, named such because she is frequently at the Capitol and makes sure the protesters are taken care of, decided to do what she has started doing on a regular basis recently. She brought red, heart shaped, mylar balloons to the Capitol to deliver to legislators. Many stories have floated around but I have finally gotten the actual story through a series of witnesses. She was standing outside the Supreme Court when Ron Blair, Director of State Facilities for the WI Department of Administration (Scott Walker’s personal department), came to her. It is unclear whether there was a verbal argument or not but he took out a knife and stabbed her balloon.
This brings me to a point of interest. No state employee should ever unfold any knife anywhere near a protester. Fortunately, Leslie was not hurt, but had she moved just one wrong way, well let’s just say knife “accidents” are not too uncommon. Also, the only employees of the DOA that have any authority to lay hands on protesters or their belongings are the Capitol Police. But Ron took it upon himself to pull out a knife and pop her balloon. She then followed him with others nearby down some stairs asking why he popped her balloon. It later escalated and he ended up physically pushing her into a Womens bathroom, following her in briefly where there was some sort of scuffle.
This is what happened. Leslie never struck Ron, Ron put her life in danger by holding a knife somewhere close enough to her body to pop a balloon she was holding. Then he pushed her into a bathroom. This is entirely unacceptable for state employees. This kind of conduct must not be tolerated in any form. I encourage you to call Mike Huebsch, Secretary of the Department of Administration on his cell phone, which I initially leaked months ago, at 608-397-7301. We must band together and demand he be put on administrative leave while this gets investigated. There are cameras where this took place so an investigation would not be hard. But even more appalling is the fact that it was a heart shaped balloon. As I explained in my last post the balloon has become a symbol of the fight in this state and one in which they have consistently tried to limit. Following this incident, several of my good activist friends took over the rabble rousing and let off a bunch of balloons in the rotunda and the DOA. Enjoy the video here:
Defending Wisconsin PAC