MADISON (WKOW) -- Dane County's district attorney tells 27 News he rejected proposed criminal charges against a state capitol protester, who scuffled with police officers during his arrest last month.
Videotapes taken by fellow protesters show 22-year old Damon Terrell going to the ground and being pinned by state capitol officers.
A probable cause affidavit against Terrell states an officer suffered a finger injury and bruises, that Terrell caused them, and created the basis for Terrell's arrest on charges including felony battery to a police officer. Terrell was believed to be the first capitol protester to be accused of a felony since protests to Governor Walker's administration's policies began in 2011.
District Attorney Ismael Ozanne tells 27 News officers had probable cause to arrest Terrell, but says his review of videotapes and other evidence show no intentional actions by Terrell to hurt the officer.
Ozanne also rejected proposed misdemeanor charges of resisting arrest and disorderly conduct against Terrell.
Ozanne also says it's unclear whether Terrell was participating in a capitol demonstration at the time of his arrest, or whether he was simply an observer. State justice department attorneys are prosecuting a citation against Terrell for unlawful assembly. For several months, state capitol police officers have arrested people believed to be part of capitol protest rallies of twenty or more people, after a federal judge ruled rallies of such size could be required to have a permit from authorities.
Terrell's attorney, Christopher Kuehn tells 27 News Ozanne's decision was supported by evidence, and says Terrell fell down, colliding with officers, after being tripped by an officer in the scuffle.
After his felony arrest, Terrell spent three days in the Dane County jail awaiting a bail hearing. His bail conditions included a ban on being at the state capitol.
With Ozanne's decision to lodge no criminal charges, Terrell's ban on being at the capitol ended. A 27 News crew saw Terrell appear briefly at the capitol Monday, but not participate in the regular, weekday noon-hour Solidarity sing-a-long protest.
A spokesperson for the department of administration declined comment when contacted by 27 News in connection with Ozanne's decision to reject the capitol police's recommendations.
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