COPY-4 people arrested at Capitol - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

COPY-4 people arrested at Capitol

MADISON (WKOW) -- Some say it's freedom of speech while others say it's breaking the rules—the debate continues at the Capitol.

Following arrests Wednesday, Capitol police made four more Thursday of people who had signs in the rotunda without a permit.

"The administrative code has been in place for a long time but it's never been enforced this way," says Patricia Hammel, an attorney and board member of the Madison chapter of the National Lawyers Guild.

Capitol police are arresting people for holding signs during another group's permitted event in the rotunda--the Red Cross blood drive.

It's against the rules to have signs in the building without written approval.

"Chief David Erwin is coming in, he's new chief looking at the fact that this has been in place since 1979 and he's making sure everything's enforced fairly and equitably in terms of the law," says Stephanie Marquis, a Department of Administration spokeswoman.

Officers watched as about a dozen people broke the rules. But they didn't make any arrests when our camera was there.

Jason Huberty is one of eight cited Wednesday. He was cited again Thursday morning and taken to the Dane County Jail after holding a sign with the Constitution on it.

"I personally had 10 tickets before this for displaying signs in legislative galleries and in committee meeting rooms, holding small signs quietly in front of my chest," Huberty says.

He says the Dane County District Attorney's office dismissed those previous ordinance violations. But the Department of Justice is now taking over civil cases against protesters at the Capitol, which means this could be the first group actually facing prosecution for holding signs inside.

DOJ spokeswoman, Dana Brueck, says, "If and when this is referred to us, we review the information and make a decision on how to proceed, just as we would with any other matter."

"Capitol police are supportive of free speech, but there are other people who want to use the Capitol to express their free speech," Marquis says. "That's why people get a permit for everything from blood drives to weddings to people on the left and the right of the political spectrum."

Huberty now will likely have to defend against two $200.50 citations in court.

"I don't mind suffering legal consequences or attention from trying to keep those rights for other people."

Attorneys tell me those cited are expected to appear in court on September 21.

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