We as members of the Religious Society of Friends watch with growing concern as Wisconsin Capitol Police officers have escalated the arrests of the singers and observers in the State Capitol. The arrests appear to be arbitrary, and the charges often bear no relationship to the actions of those arrested. The treatment of the accused is sometimes violent and abusive, violating the human rights of those arrested and damaging the humanity of the police while undermining their relationship with those they have pledged to serve and protect.
We are disturbed and concerned by the practice of handling an alleged misdemeanor with harassment and intimidation as if it were a physical threat. This misuse of power is intended to instill fear, thereby effectively serving to suppress people’s right to free expression.
We support the efforts of the participants in the Solidarity Sing Along to continue to raise awareness by non-violent means of what they believe to be immoral, unjust, and illegal abuse of power by our state government. As Quakers, we reject the use of violence and request the Governor to commit himself to change through honest and open dialogue, and to treat all Wisconsin citizens with compassion and respect.
We remind the Governor of these words in our State’s constitution:
Wisconsin Constitution, Article I, SECTION 4. [Right to assemble and petition.] The right of the people peaceably to assemble, to consult for the common good, and to petition the government, or any department thereof, shall never be abridged.