Protesters have been releasing red heart balloons throughout the months of demonstrations... More than a dozen balloons were released in the rotunda Friday, but all of those had been removed by Monday morning.The words that jump off the page are "came at her with a knife," but if you settle down and read that carefully, it seems more likely that you have an exasperated state worker clumsily attacking a balloon. Obviously, an actual knife attack would be terrible, but it doesn't sound as though that's what happened. On the other hand, deliberately releasing balloons inside the rotunda is vandalism. It's not cute and fun-loving. Dealing with this new "protests" is wasting state money and, apparently, upsetting at least one state worker.
The protester involved in Monday's incident told a Capitol police officer that the worker came at her with a knife. She did not appear to be injured, but was holding a blood-smeared paper bag and what looked like popped red heart balloon.
Other protesters who had been attending the daily singalong in the rotunda told the State Journal that the worker said he was sick of removing balloons from the dome and attempted to pop it. They said he apparently stabbed or cut himself in the process....
More balloons were released in the rotunda Monday afternoon after the incident.
UPDATE: Here's the story in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
"The citizen allegedly brought a balloon into the Capitol and the state employee allegedly broke the balloon. The state employee indicated that before the incident he slipped on the stairs and cut his hand," a statement released by the Department of Administration said. The statement made no mention of how the employee cut his hand or broke the balloon.So the approach with the knife, it seems, was about popping balloons to prevent the troublesome release into the dome. No one was attacked or threatened, and the state worker carrying out the balloon-release prevention technique somehow managed to cut himself.
The citizen... said... an assistant facilities director in the Capitol, approached her with a knife and slashed her balloon. She said that when the incident occurred [he] had a handkerchief over his hand, which was bleeding.
ADDED: I have heard from an extremely trustworthy eyewitness that the police were talking to a weeping woman who claimed to have been assaulted.
AND: Blue Cheddar has some more detail:
Jenna says that she was standing with Leslie when Ron [Blair, the assistant facilities director,] approached “out of nowhere”. Leslie was holding a heart-shaped balloon that according to a @joevittie tweet, she had brought to give to a legislator. Jenna says Ron rushed at the balloon and popped it and then darted down a back stairway. In the course of the action Jenna says he did not say anything she could clearly hear, though he may have been mumbling.Interestingly, Ron Blair pushed Meade last March, as recorded in this video.
Jenna says they were on the 2nd floor of the Capitol and he ran down to the 1st floor. She and Leslie followed close behind yelling at him and asking him why he popped the balloon. Jenna said he stopped at the 1st floor and turned. At this point they were very close, only “a couple of feet away” from Ron. Jenna says Ron lunged at Leslie grabbing her wrists and throwing her into a bathroom door. The force of the lunge was enough to push Leslie into the bathroom and he also came in the room with her. Jenna says that at this point Leslie started to scream and call “Help!”.