Wisconsin state Rep. Sondy Pope (D) and Tia Nelson of the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands were reportedly threatened with arrest on Tuesday for watching — but not participating in — a "Solidarity Sing Along” protest inside the Wisconsin state Capitol building.
According to the TheDailyPage.com, Police Officer Andrew Hyatt was walking around the upper level of the capitol on Tuesday and warning people that the chief of police considered the protest an "unlawful gathering" and spectators could be arrested.
“As a legislator I swore to uphold the Constitution of the United States," Pope told TheDailyPage.com. "I think what [the police] are doing is unconstitutional. How can you arrest me for observing?”
In addition to Pope and Nelson being warned, a video (below) of a police officer confronting an unidentified woman (pictured) was uploaded to YouTube on Tuesday.
The woman is standing on the upper floor of the capitol, has her cell phone out and is apparently recording the protest below.
That's when the police officer confronts her.
Moments later, the woman tells an unidentified cameraman, "He told me that it has been declared an unlawful event because there are more than 20 people here. I told him that I was not with that group, that I was watching, and that even though I was just watching, just videoing, I had to leave or I would be subject to arrest."
However, Stephanie Marquis, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Administration, told the Associated Press, "Observers will not receive citations."
The “Solidarity Sing Along” protests began in 2011, but in July of this year, a federal judge ruled that groups of more than 20 could not gather in the Wisconsin Capitol without a permit.
The protesters refuse to get permits and claim they are protected under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. So far, 175 people have been cited for protesting.