March 18, 2011

A preliminary investigation of the handcuffs on the Wisconsin Capitol doors says the police did it.

Wisconsin Capitol Police Chief Charles Tubbs, who telephoned Meade today, suspects that the police put the handcuffs on the door in an effort to keep protesters from breaking into the Capitol on the night of March 9th.

As I noted in a post on March 11th, Meade had the impression that the protesters had put the handcuffs on the door, but he was "trying to get an authoritative interview from the police." He left a message with Tubbs, and Tubbs called back to say that he was investigating and would call back, which he did today.

Putting handcuffs on the door is obviously a hazard, especially once people got in through other means. (Meade observed a window opened to the office of Assemblyman Cory Mason that night.)

I look forward to more investigation into what happened that night, when the police were overwhelmed and, apparently, resorted to handcuffing the doors shut. I have heard from some police officers who feel demoralized about the way they have been disabled from keeping order.

30 comments:

Phil 3:14 said...

are

Meade had the impression that the protesters

and

Wisconsin Capitol Police Chief Charles Tubbs, who telephoned Meade today, suspects that the police put the handcuffs on the door

mutually exclusive?

madAsHell said...

I haven't been in the back of a police car for some time, but it is my observation that police use zip ties.

Handcuffs can still be found at the Adam&Eve Adult Store....I am told.

Carol_Herman said...

Tubbs is the local chief? The Black Guy who had gone around to the protestors (when they were very numerous), offering "support?"

I'm glad you're following up on this. And, that you took a photo.

Because where's the fire department? Doing something like this to keep doors shut ... is not just vandalism. Why didn't the police just hand out guns?

When I saw the video of the red headed gal ... I also kept looking at the background. Where it seemed there were no protesters (except for one guy holding a sign), that even came into view.

But at some point a uniformed police officer came out. (He's even wearing the hat to his uniform.) And, I noticed it was BLUE. Where I had thought State Police are in Brown & Tan uniforms.

Oh, yeah. I noticed he had a pistol on. ARMED.

Anyway, thank you so much for this follow through!

Maguro said...

He "suspects"', eh? Seems like he could just ask his guys whether they'd cuffed the doors and then he'd know for sure.

PETER V. BELLA said...

Look out Wisconsin. Congress critter Jan Schakowsky and her Evanston organization will be invading your state. They will assist in the coup de etat to oust Scott Walker.

Ms. Schakowsky is a deplorable, despicable, disgusting and detestable* invader.







*Her words describing her own constituents who had the temerity to question the Health Care bill at a town hall meeting.

Seven Machos said...

Doesn't anybody remember the ending of the movie Over the Edge?

former law student said...

The police were between a rock and a hard place. Had the doors not been cuffed together, anyone inside could push the door open to let as many people as possible in. (shades of a youth misspent at the movies) But, the risk of trapping people inside could have been acceptably small, because

1. The chance of a fire in the Capitol is small.
2. There should have only been a few people inside the Capitol at that time.
3. In case of fire, police were available both to conduct an orderly evacuation, and to unlock the handcuffs.

Julianne said...

If the police were using handcuffs to lock a door they were pretty much ignoring a fairly specific fire code. Why they resorted to that rather than call for help is obviously what needs to be determined. Seems like the whole thing was dangerously out of control.

Carol_Herman said...

I wouldn't fear peaceful assembly. Even crappy congress critters from Illinois, looking for publicity ...

And, ya know what? I bet Jan Shakowsky, if she comes, comes with a film crew.

You have no idea how in awe I am of the two of you. Able to follow up on this story better than most newspapers ever did, except when they were tearing after Nixon!

I'm also going to guess that the photo of the handcuffed doorway ... brought calls TO the police chief.

This Internet is a wonder! It has exposed the underbelly of corruption that once didn't see the light of day!

Carol_Herman said...

The Capitol at Madison burned to the ground in a fire! This Rotunda is in a rebuilt building.

As to using cuffs on the door, that door doesn't open IN. I think the doors open OUT.

And, yes, there's a video I saw Meade took where there was a crush of people attempting to get into the Rotunda after it was supposed to be closed for the night.

Yes, we've been shown Meade's photographs of the damage to a door hinge. A door that had a panel kicked in. And, a brass frame around one of the doorknobs, where someone tried to break it with a screw driver, or something.

I also know the uniformed police changed. (From the guys in blue shirts), to what I thought were the State Police, in brown & tan.

Doors can be locked with locks. And, also with brass fittings that go from the door to a latch above it.

And, yes. After the 14-democraps returned, one of them opened a first story window ... giving entry to protesters AFTER HOURS.

A lot of good this did for them. Because I think a majority of people are disgusted now over what they saw. Including teachers as law breakers. And, doctors who gave out "free sick notes."

With honorable mention to the "bullhorn nurse" ... asking to see Governor Goofy.

Free country. Best safety valve in the world is to meet free speech with more free speech.

PaulV said...

The cheif has his story and is sticking to it. Did he even ask to see handcuffs or ask the police who were there?

Meade said...

"1. The chance of a fire in the Capitol is small."

Depends on what you mean by "small." The marble slabs face what is primarily a wooden structure. According to a Capitol Police officer I spoke to that night, fire would spread extremely quickly through the building. That's why I got out after seeing the handcuffs and why I advised others to do the same.

Btw, the scene that Wednesday night was far from "peaceful." Door panels were broken out and window glass was broken. In the rotunda there was a general mood of success and solidarity - lots of smiling, laughing, hugging. But at the doors, there was hyper excitement, shouting, screaming, pushing, a palpable sense of danger and chaos.

Ut said...

"The police put the handcuffs on the door in an effort to keep protesters from breaking into the Capitol on the night of March 9th."

Hahahahahahaha.

The police did it to keep protesters OUT? That's priceless.

Yeah, really the police did it to protect their fucking 7-figure pensions and free health insurance they get to force the rest of us to buy pverpriced health insurance.

Motherfucking corrupt basterds.

The Madison, Wisconsin police are an organized band of fucking thieves. Nobody should respect them or their alleged authority.

Ut said...

"The chance of a fire in the Capitol is small."

But growing exponentially by the day.

Mogget said...

You know, when I saw the picture of the handcuffed doors I said to myself that it had to have been done by a protestor. Nobody who takes seriously the responsibility to protect and serve the public could be so stupid. Guess not.

edutcher said...

Somebody wants us to believe the cops did this as a public safety measure in defiance of whatever building and fire codes (with which said cops must have at least a nodding acquaintance) are in place and realizing that a good many cathedrals and similar building throughout history have burned to a cinder?

This is nonsense worthy of Tommy Flanagan.

"Althouse did it. Yeah, the sexy little blonde blogger. Yeah. Dat's da ticket."

Third Coast said...

Meanwhile on the other side of the Lake, the Lansing MI police dept. is doing their best imitation of the Madison gendarmes.
http://www.wwmt.com/articles/lansing-1388582-msp-newschannel.html
The mayor of Lansing, Virg Bernero, is a huge union guy. He got stomped in the last MI gubernatorial election by Rick Snyder. The cops are playing a dangerous game.

wv=reined what needs to be done to union cops

Fen said...

He "suspects"', eh? Seems like he could just ask his guys whether they'd cuffed the doors and then he'd know for sure.

Sound like he asked them and couldn't get a straight answer. Impotence.

Fen said...

FLS: The police were between a rock and a hard place. Had the doors not been cuffed together, anyone inside could push the door open to let as many people as possible in.

How cute. When the Marines make a mistake because they are "between a rock and a hard place", you want them hauled off and tried as war criminals.

But when it comes to your Union buds, your principles are flexible.

Seven Machos said...

These old buildings built before modern fire codes never burn.

Bob_R said...

WTF! Police did this? Don't they have nightmares of banquet hall fires, Virginia Tech? (Here at VT, they have replaced every door latch on campus that can be chained shut.) Madison cops must be in their own bubble.

AJ Lynch said...

Tubbs made it to police chief? Has he assigned this case to Sonny Crockett?

Maguro said...

Sound like he asked them and couldn't get a straight answer. Impotence.

I dunno, I just find it odd that this guy would take the time to call Meade back with an equivocal answer to such a simple question. Either his guys did or did not cuff the doors, but a week later and you're still not sure? Strange.

Meade said...

In Chief Tubbs's defense, I have been dogging him every day - going into his office and leaving messages asking for a call back. Last Friday he promised to get back to me by Mon. afternoon, Tues. morning at the latest. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday I stopped in and left messages for him. I was surprised he called me today when he still had not come to a conclusion. I'll keep visiting his office every week until I get his final answer. Whoever put those cuffs on the doors used very bad judgement and if indeed it was a police officer or state trooper - the only LE in the building that night - I'll take it as another sign of the panic and chaos the flash mob created when they stormed the building.

Fen said...

Either his guys did or did not cuff the doors, but a week later and you're still not sure? Strange.

Maybe the lawyers told him to admit nothing.

former law student said...


The police did it to keep protesters OUT?


Did you never see kids at a movie theater push open the fire exit doors, to let their buddies in to see the movie for free?

Meade said...

fls makes a good point. The facebook flash mob happened very quickly but even then it wasn't instant.

The number of cops in the building had been radically reduced from a week earlier. It makes sense to me that, as glass was breaking, door panels were being punched through, and door plates were being pried up, one or two cops panicked and slapped their cuffs on those particular doors.

And then the dam burst.

Crimso said...

"Had the doors not been cuffed together, anyone inside could push the door open to let as many people as possible in."

And here I thought we had been assured it was against the WI Constitution to restrict access to the Capitol.

"The cops are playing a dangerous game."

Much more dangerous than they think. The air traffic controllers thought they were irreplaceable as well. My advice to the WI cops is to walk the straight and narrow. "The whole world is watching!"

Dual Freq said...

I think you will find your answer by placing an open records request or FOIA request for the radio communications recordings for the capitol police. I was sort of an ear witness to those events via police scanner (RS Pro-164 trunk tracker) and I heard the command post give orders to police to secure the door with handcuffs. I'm nearly 100% certain that WSJ reporters know this too, because they were frequently tweeting what the cap police were saying to the #WIunion crowd and basically helping them to breach the building.

From what I heard on the scanner it was a very desperate situation for the police. They were trying to secure the building but the mob was pressing on doors on both sides of them and climbing through first floor windows. They could not get those doors to close and were holding them shut with their bodies. At that point the command post told them to secure them with handcuffs.

Shortly after this, a different door on the other end of the building was breached. They never said how, but I think the McIver Institute photo of the hinge pins being removed tells that story. After the crowd started to storm the building, Capitol Police knew they had lost and they ordered all LEOs in the building to the third floor in what sounded like a very chaotic retreat. The crowd was so loud, the police had trouble hearing the order and they issued that order many times before the police were able to retreat to a better position.

I would bet they have tapes of this incident. Law enforcement almost always records these channels. I don't know if open records request covers this, but that's how you can get it.

LibertyChick said...

If the cops feel demoralized, they need to be speaking out to more than Meade!