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Off-duty officers attend Capitol singalong

By Jessica Arp, jarp@wisctv.com
Published On: Aug 27 2013 06:37:43 PM CDT
Updated On: Aug 27 2013 08:26:30 PM CDT
MADISON, Wis. -

Capitol police made arrests at the daily Capitol singalong Tuesday, but they did not arrest three off-duty Madison police officers who joined the crowd.

Those off-duty cops said they are not flouting the law, but instead supporting both free speech and the Capitol police officers who are doing their job under the dome.

The Department of Administration said 10 people were arrested at the singalong Tuesday, but they did not arrest the officers wearing "Cops for Labor" shirts.

"As a police officer, I saw what they were doing as being unconstitutional," said Officer David Dexheimer. "It is aggressive policing that is ineffective to their goal and I believe these arrests are politically motivated and furthering an agenda that police shouldn't have to take part in."

Officer Brian Austin said the Capitol officers lost collective bargaining rights under Act 10 and have no recourse to show concern about the actions they're carrying out.

"I know there are officers who are absolutely sickened by what they have to do here when they show up to work every day and yet they still have to do it or their jobs are at risk," said Austin. "The DOA is putting these officers in a volatile situation, as we saw yesterday, and I am worried it is only a matter of time before a flash point occurs."

Damon Terrell, who was involved with a situation with police Monday at the Capitol, is still in jail on charges of battery, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and trespassing.

The DOA has maintained that the singers simply need to get a permit to hold their event in the Capitol and participants would not be arrested.

WISC-TV asked the DOA why 10 people were arrested Tuesday when many more were at the singalong. A spokeswoman said that "enforcement can be based on resources" and reminded that "only those actively participating" would be cited.

The officers attending Tuesday and many others sang for the entire noon hour at the Capitol.

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