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Protester sues Capitol worker who popped balloon

A red balloon sits on a net installed on the fourth floor at the state Capitol in Madison on July 29. Leslie Peterson, of Madison has filed a lawsuit stemming from an altercation with Ronald Blair, an assistant director in the Division of State Facilities. (Staff photo by Kevin Harnack)

MADISON, Wis. (AP) – A woman is claiming a state Capitol worker violated her constitutional rights by popping a balloon and allegedly slamming her against a door.

Leslie Peterson, of Madison, filed a lawsuit seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages from Ronald Blair, an assistant director in the Division of State Facilities.

The 56-year-old Blair has been charged with disorderly conduct while armed. The altercation allegedly happened July 25 during a daily sing-along, which was an ongoing protest of the state law curtailing collective bargaining rights for public workers.

The lawsuit filed Thursday alleges Blair violated Peterson’s free speech and due process rights and subjected her to unreasonable search and seizure.

Blair’s lawyer in the criminal case, Colleen Locke, told the Wisconsin State Journal she hasn’t seen the lawsuit.

Information from: Wisconsin State Journal, http://www.madison.com/wsj

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