Inklings of a Crackdown in the Madison Capitol

On Saturday Steve Books, a long-time Veterans For Peace activist, was arrested and taken away in handcuffs for chalking, "This is far, far, far from over," on the sidewalk next to the Capitol. He was fined $205.05 and issued a citation for “conduct otherwise prohibited” under Wisconsin Administrative Code 2.14.

The arrest comes shortly after David Erwin was named the new chief of the Capitol Police. Erwin had been serving as Scott Walker’s personal bodyguard in the state’s Dignitary Protection Unit. A former Marine Drill Sergeant and commander of the State Patrol Air Support Unit, Erwin’s style of leadership is proving to be much different than that of the former chief, Charles Tubbs, who was known for his community policing techniques.

Last week Erwin met with a group of legislative staffers who were concerned about their personal safety at work. A staff member of a Democratic lawmaker who wishes to remain anonymous attended the meeting and reported that much of the discussion revolved around protesters and how to interact with them. Erwin allegedly advised those in the meeting to take self-defense classes.

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