MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Dane County prosecutors have declined to file charges against a Capitol demonstrator who was accused of injuring a police officer.
District Attorney Ismael Ozanne told the Wisconsin State Journal on Monday there isn’t enough proof that Damon Terrell intentionally hurt Capitol Police Officer James Brooks during a scuffle in the Capitol rotunda last month.
“We reviewed the evidence and had some question as to whether we would be able to meet our burden (of proof), so we declined to issue,” Ozanne told the newspaper.
Protesters have been gathering in the rotunda almost daily for more than two years to sing songs against Republican Gov. Scott Walker. Capitol Police began a crackdown on the singers in July for gathering in the space without a permit. The protesters counter they don’t need a permit to exercise their free-speech rights and since they’re not organized no one can take responsibility for any damages the group might cause, a condition of the permit.
Police have made more than 300 arrests so far.
Brooks wrote in an affidavit that Terrell was taking photographs during the Aug. 26 singalong and refused to leave the building. As Brooks tried to arrest Terrell, Terrell resisted and tried to pull away. Brooks took Terrell to the floor, suffering cuts and scrapes.
Terrell was held in jail for three days on suspicion of felony battery and misdemeanor resisting arrest or obstruction after his arrest.
Ozanne said video shows Terrell was backing away from Brooks. It’s unclear if he was moving because he had been given a chance to stop participating in the sing-along, the district attorney said.
Information from: Wisconsin State Journal, http://www.madison.com/wsj