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Hullabaloo


Friday, January 30, 2009

 
It Could Happen To You

by digby


Feeling their lives were threatened the police had to defend themselves:

University of Wisconsin football fans Roman and Margaret Hiebing, who have strong ties to the university, have filed claims against the state of Wisconsin claiming police officers used excessive force, including a Taser, when arresting Margaret for sitting in the wrong place at the crowded Penn State football game in October.

The Hiebings were among the 81,524 fans who packed into Camp Randall Stadium on Oct. 11 to watch the Nittany Lions pound the Badgers, 48-7.

Like many others in section U on the east side of the stadium, Margaret Hiebing could not sit in her regular seat in row 69 because it had already been taken. So she sat at the end of the row, partially in the aisle, and that led to confrontation with police, which led to Margaret being handcuffed, stung by a Taser, and being ticketed for disorderly conduct on university property.

[...]

The Hiebings live in Maple Bluff and Roman is retired after a lengthy career in advertising, including 25 years as head of the Hiebing Group, a premier advertising firm in Madison, and he taught in both the business and journalism schools at UW. Margaret worked for many years as a nurse at University Hospital. The couple has had Badger football tickets for the past 25 years, the notice of claim says, and are members of the Bascom Hill Society.

The notice of claim makes UW-Madison Police Officer Tamara Kowalski out to the prime culprit of what the couple calls "excessive force." As Margaret Hiebing was trying to watch the game from her makeshift seat at the end of the aisle, Kowalski approached and told her to get in her seat. Roman Hiebing then asked the officer to check tickets of those in row 69, because some people were obviously in the wrong seats.

Kowalski, the notice of claim says, "did not check the tickets; in fact, (did) nothing to rectify the situation in response to (Roman's) request."

"Without provocation, Kowalski then grabbed (Margaret's) hair, pulling it backwards," and threatened to spray Margaret with pepper spray, the filing says. Kowalski then called six other officers to the area, and they in turned grabbed Margaret and started hauling up the stairs, the notice of claim says.

Margaret Hiebing tried to warn officers that she had previous knee surgery which made her prone to injuries, but said in an affidavit her pleas were ignored. When she got to the top of the stairs, Officer Peter Grimsyer "Tasered her repeatedly," the notice of claim says.

Roman, the claim says, was battered and falsely imprisoned by Officers Benjamin Newman and Nicolas Banuelos when he tried to help his wife.

State Justice Department spokesman William Cosh declined to discuss the claim. "We are reviewing the allegations and have no comment," he said.

Police said at the time that Margaret Hiebing was "kicking and screaming" when officers tried to handcuff her. "That's when one of the officers discharged a Taser weapon on her," said UW Police Sgt. Jason Whitney.


This 54 year old woman was a threat to the seven officers who were trying to subdue her and so she had to be repeatedly tortured with electricity. Sure, I'll buy that.

This is actually quite interesting. It's one thing when police tase mental patients, protesters and alleged criminals. Most Americans figure they probably deserve it. But when they start torturing white, middle aged, female pillars of the community at football games, things could get sticky.



In other news, the early reports about the Bart killing were right. The officer who shot the suspect in cold blood is saying that he confused his taser with his sidearm, thus proving once again that there are far too many idiots carrying badges, guns and tasers.


H/t to S and NobleJoanie


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