August 6, 2013

"You are a drama queen," said the cop to the man he'd just thrown to floor.

Or... what just happened here?



"Wisconsin Capitol Police have been arresting people in the Capitol for singing their grievances against the Scott Walker Administration without a permit for the last two weeks. [On August 5] during one of the multiple arrests, Officer Michael J. Syphard grabbed videographer Arthur Kohl-Riggs and threw him to the ground without any kind of warning or request to move."

What happened in that video?
  
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Click the tag Arthur Kohl-Riggs to see his previous appearances on this blog. [ADDED: 2 videos from March 23, 2011 show Kohl-Riggs moving in on Meade at a protest. Kohl-Riggs's intrusive, get-in-your-face method can be seen in the first video, as he seems to be trying to scare Meade.]

59 comments:

khesanh0802 said...

In the NBA he would have been penalized for a "dive"!

Matthew Sablan said...

This is why you don't let rules slide so much early on. If the Capitol Police had been enforcing the rules since the start, the Capitol Singers would have started getting their permits from the start. The lack of consistency is what lead to this particular conflict. This isn't to say blindly follow all rules: But enforcement needs to be consistent or you end up with confusion when the sudden crackdown happens.

This was actually one of the things they taught me as an RA. You can always dial back enforcement later, but ramping UP enforcement kills the morale of your floor and makes people feel cheated.

Beta Rube said...

That boy went down quicker than a Bill Clinton intern.

The cop just wanted the guy out of his face and nudged him a little.

Henry said...

What I know is that if you cut the cop's benefits he's a noble union man. If he gets involved in street theatre, he's a thug.

tim maguire said...

I didn't vote because I can't tell. I watched the video several times and I don't see where the videographer did anything justifying the cop's laying a hand on him. I also didn't see the cop do anything to cause him to fall over (at first, I thought I saw a trip move but, on review, I don't think so). But the grab and fall happened too fast for the videographer to come up with this drama queen plan.

So I didn't vote.

ErnieG said...

The guy with the camera must have been watching too much soccer.

AaronS said...

Who knows? It's a he-said/Abe Lincoln-said situation. Perhaps there was a banana peal involved. Perhaps said peal was planted evidence by the police. We will never know.
I think it might be time for virtual Congressional buildings. Telecommuting would be cheaper for state budgets and our various capitols could be rented out for weddings and bar mitzvahs. Now obviously, protesting would still be a constitutional right(rite?) but hopefully the singing would add more to the event than it would detract.

El Pollo Raylan said...

The "fall" looked rigged.

Sayyid said...

Definitely a drama-queen fall.

(1) The leverage is all wrong for throwing someone. He's pulling with his one arm and nothing else against the weight of the camera man.

(2) You can see the cop reaching his left arm out to balance the camera man as he pulls him back. If he were throwing the man, why would he try to block the fall?

(3) When the guy falls back further/harder than expected, the cop is thrown completely off balance. His left arm, there for catching him, gets pushed back harder than he thought it would, and the cop nearly falls too. If he were expecting the guy to hit the floor, he'd have been braced for it, not thrown back from it.

Wordsson said...

Before perusing the tags for Mr. Kohl-Riggs I likely would have opted for "Abrupt cop + displeased man." Based on his record, and observing how the officer's left arm appears to attempt to break the man's "fall," the more likely reality is that Mr. Kohl-Riggs staged the altercation and the "drama."

Tank said...

Yellow card.

El Pollo Raylan said...

A loud bovine "boo" is heard in the slow motion version.

MathMom said...

The cop tried to move the videographer out of the way. The videographer "fell", nearly pulling the cop over with him.

No way did the cop throw him down.

Arthur Kohl-Riggs is a dishonest man who practices this sort of thing, and knows how to make it look bad on video, though.

It reminds me of Rep. Emanuel Cleaver walking through the tea party groups on the capitol steps, insisting they had been spit on. After walking a few steps past someone yelling and seeing a camera, the Cleaver got the idea of wiping his face so it looked like he had been spit on. The problem is, when you are spit on, you wipe it off immediately, you don't save it for the next camera.

Mark said...

If you look closely, it is none of the above. The Cop wasn't doing anything to stop the filming, until the videographer leaned over the railing, in what could be viewed as an unsafe way. The cop grabs the guy and pulls him back from the rail, and the guy does an NBA (actually not that good - a high school basketball) flop. You can see that the cop tries to grab him with the other hand to prevent him from falling.

Nice going police union. Take a look at who you are in bed with.

Hagar said...

It looks like the cop is reaching down after the guy to hold him up and keep him from getting hurt in the fall.
And, yes, the fall looks to be contrived.

Robert Cook said...

The cop overstepped his bounds and was abusive. He had no right to lay hands on the videographer.

Nathan said...

Bro, do you even legs?

Seriously, that dude collapse like a push puppet. I hope he's been practicing his stunt falls, because you can inadvertently hurt yourself by throwing your body onto an unforgiving surface.

Matt said...

At first I thought he took a dive but this is what I think happened. Arthur was leaning out over the rail. When the cop grabbed him, Arthur's instinct was to get back from the rail to avoid plummeting. It does not appear the cop moved him with much force; however, that combined with Arthur's instinctual move led to Arthur falling backwards.

West Texas Intermediate Crude said...

I did not vote because it was obviously a dive. Likely if you add "dive" to the choices it would be most selected.

I nominate Beta Rube for thread winner:
"That boy went down quicker than a Bill Clinton intern."

Classic.

CWJ said...

Matthew Sablan nearly always does some first rate commenting. Yes, it was a "dive," but Matthew's comment gets to the heart of why we are still having these episodes in the first place.

OTOH, I'm not so sure that the Capital Singers would meekly acquiesce to getting permits early on. After all, it was political theatre from day one. I suspect the very need for permits would be spun as Walker thugery and an unjustifiable infringement on their rights.

joethefatman said...

Fake fall. The guy leaned over the railing to get a better camera angle and gets too close to the other cop who was dealing with someone else. 2nd cop tries to pull camera dude away and camera dude folds faster than towels on wash day. Shoot the cop even tried to stop the fall to the point that he nearly fell himself. Pure drama queen.

whatisblivit said...

I've seen more convincing "flops" from Tim Duncan

bpm4532 said...

The videographer didn't seem to be doing anything wrong, he may be known as a continual annoyance. Looking at the video of Meade with the 2 guys, it was clear they were trying to obstruct him and intimidate him.

More of the same anti-Darwinism at work. These people don't seem to face any proper feedback for their inappropriate behavior, thus they continue with it and likely expand on it thinking they have earned the "right" to do so.

MadisonMan said...

I think the whole arresting people without a permit is foolish, based on my assumption that this would not be happening or required if the group in question were singing Patriotic Songs in support of the Governor. And if I were Governor, I'd let anyone use the Capitol for any kind of demonstration they wished, as long as they weren't spray painting or using duck tape.

When there are opposing groups, people on either side will occasionally escalate things, either deliberately or accidentally.

Sofa King said...

I may be wrong but I don't believe you are allowed to rest equipment on the railings, particularly tripods that can damage the marble.

Inga said...

The cop has issues. He was being abusive. These tactics will possibly be used against Walker if he chooses to run for President someday, mark my words.

David said...

Fake, or just clumsy? Who knows?

The point is, a guy who falls that easily just should not be near low railings in high places. Officer Friendly just saved K-R's life. Gee whiz, thanks Officer Friendly.

AprilApple said...

I've seen police brutality before. That is not it.

The leftist was barely touched and he dropped. Give me a break.

garage mahal said...

And if I were Governor, I'd let anyone use the Capitol for any kind of demonstration they wished, as long as they weren't spray painting or using duck tape.

This governor can't stand dissent though. Not from grandmothers, mothers, veterans, journalists, ministers....all who have been arrested. Walker can't stand a handful of Indians camping out in the Penokees either. For that you might meet armed mercenaries in the woods. But none dare call them fascists.

Awesome governor!

Robert Cook said...

"The videographer didn't seem to be doing anything wrong, he may be known as a continual annoyance."

If we're not doing anything wrong but being "continual annoyances," we have a right to continue in our behavior. The police have no right to lay hands on us for being annoying.

"More of the same anti-Darwinism at work. These people don't seem to face any proper feedback for their inappropriate behavior...."

What's inappropriate about his behavior. Or, rather, inappropriate according to whom? More curiously, what's the proper feedback you feel they should receive? Aren't you essentially excusing any abuse of authority by the government of its citizens? After all, I'm sure any group that exercises its First Amendment rights to peaceably assemble, to speak freely, and to seek redress of its grievances is a major annoyance to the government. Tough! Aren't they there to serve us?

roesch/voltaire said...

Just imagine if this happened to Meade while claiming to be the "press" recording the protest; I suspect most would notice the excessive force that was not needed.

donald said...

I'm guessing Walker supporters wouldn't be making assholes out of themselves like this. I'm also guessing that they would accept the consequences of their actions,

Beta Rube said...

Walker is so effective at limiting dissent that there's been daily protest at the Capitol since Act 10 passed.

I recall that I couldn't hear Sarah Palin over the noise of screaming lefties. That was the only crushing of speech that I can remember.

Ann Althouse said...

"Just imagine if this happened to Meade while claiming to be the "press" recording the protest; I suspect most would notice the excessive force that was not needed."

We absolutely were the press. What do you think "press" means in the constitutional phrase "freedom of the press"? We were pressing. I'm pressing buttons on my keyboard right now.

As for Meade falling over like that, I can't imagine. He's not easy to topple. If his upright stability were shaken by a cop, it would surely be a case of brutality.

SteveR said...

Obviously fake, to be in the videographer's camp is to confirm an anti-Walker (or similar) agenda. Plain facts aside.

garage mahal said...

Susan Cohen: 'As I was walking out of the capitol today I overheard two women, shepherding four children, aged 6-10, talking about how "horrible it was in there today." I turned around and engaged them. It turned out they had to leave because one of the little girls was so scared she never wanted to go back in the capitol again. I asked, "Afraid of the singers?" Her mom looked at me like I was crazy. She said, "No, the police."

They were standing up on the second floor and the kids started clapping along with the singers when a Capitol police officer told them to stop or they would be arrested. The kids were terrified and their moms were livid. They wanted to know just what was going on.

This group was from Janesville, I think; teacher, of course. I encouraged them to write up a complaint but they were on their way to get ice cream.'

damikesc said...

Hint: when the guy abusing you and is throwing you to the floor loses his grip on you the moment you go backwards...it is a flop.

CWJ said...

Sigh. Looking at the later comments, its clear that for some the facts needed to be interpreted in their political context rather than simply what actually happened. You know I actually now appreciate Althouse's slow jamming the comments.

Inga said...

I can just see the video of the grandmothers and protest singers being arrested in a Presidential TV video spot some day. Not a smart move manhandling protestors this way. To clarify what I meant in my comment above.

The Godfather said...

Here in North Carolina we have weekly protests at the Capitol against the Republican governor and legislature (this is the first time the Repubs have been in charge since the Billy Yanks moved out). The protests are led by the well-known non-partisan NAACP. The protests are called "Moral Monday", and several protesters arrange to have themselves arrested every week.

Down here in Pinehurst our local paper covers our local arrestees pretty much like the newly-elected officers of the Rotary: Not big news, but positive.

The protesters are "moral", they are "what democracy looks like". It's the democratically elected government that is illegitimate.

If Kohl-Riggs didn't fall down on purpose, his handlers need to send him to the re-education camp.

What's going on in Madison and what's going on in Raleigh is an attempt to de-legitimize Republican/conservative government.

Matthew Sablan said...

I'm watching their slow motion. I'm not convinced that the fall is legitimate. Notice his camera arm; it stays perfectly level; he makes no attempt to balance himself with it. The second video appears to be slightly sped up, so I can't really tell what's happening there.

I've thrown people for plays/self-defense demonstrations, and this doesn't look like any throw I've ever seen. The cop isn't in the right stance to leverage like that, and if you watch the second video at about :34/:35, you can see the videographer's knees don't really seem to be trying to get him back on balance.

So, I keep coming back to the conveniently there across the way view. He doesn't fall backwards or stumble; he keels over like a tree after someone yelled timber.

I don't know; maybe the cop was a bit too forceful, we can't really tell from these angles. But, if I had to say whether the cop deserves to have his name thrown out to the masses and accused of police brutality over this, I'd say probably not.

Not only that, but the videographer's tripod is out, his camera is ready, but he -waits- to take the giant open spot. He waits to get in the way, and lean comically over the edge, for when a police officer (who he probably knows judging by this write up) to come by (don't make any mistake, the videographer clearly sees the officer coming, or if he didn't, is not only extremely clumsy, but has no depth perception).

Matthew Sablan said...

To prove my point, the videographer walks in from BEHIND the cop (18-19 seconds in the first video), cuts in front of the cop, then leans over the balcony. Leaning on the balcony is clearly fine (the other cops standing around have done nothing to the couple next to the videographer). I'm still confused what video the people in the first video were trying to shoot (they are literally focused on a big empty space that will soon become a dramatic center that would bolster their cause.)

Why aren't they actually using the video to video the protest? What was so interesting about that big empty spot that drew their attention there?

Meade said...

"Just imagine if this happened to Meade "

It did happen to me. Twice. I just didn't act like a big baby drama queen.

And I agree with MadisonMan: Let anyone use the Capitol for any kind of demonstration. As long as there is the allowance for dissent within the demonstration, I would add. One big illiberal problem with the occupation of the Capitol building 2 and a half years ago was that the protesters shouted down or intimidated further free speech that didn't agree with their point of view. Protesters purposely flooded the zone and disrespected other citizens' rights and those of the people who had to go to work in the building. Sadly for those pro-government union protesters, it backfired, they lost the recall election, and will probably lose again in 2014.

Matthew Sablan said...

Now: Should the cop have touched the videographer? Probably not. Like I said, he's leaning almost comically over the balcony, but in no real danger of falling. It was a bad move to lay hands on him. I'm just not convinced that the videographer was thrown.

MrCharlie2 said...

hah, such a dive (speaking as an old soccer ref).

El Pollo Raylan said...

Kohl-Riggs would have fallen from the balcony if he could have arranged to have been caught. Total stage diva, he. And note the videographer's first name familiarity with "Arthur."

garage mahal said...

Meade was grabbed by a cop and thrown to the ground for filming? Must have missed that.

AprilApple said...

@Inga -The cop has issues. He was being abusive. These tactics will possibly be used against Walker if he chooses to run for President someday, mark my words.


Perhaps NBC can take the footage and photo-shop Walker's head where the cop's head used to be, and run it as "news".

Nothing new under the sun.

SteveR said...

Garage-read Ann's comment again-sort of a hypothetical-it didn't happen

David said...

Garage sez: " I encouraged them to write up a complaint but they were on their way to get ice cream.'

Thus showing how seriously they actually took the whole thing.

Meade said...

Twice I had authorities put there hands on me - once when police officers stood by, blocking the doors to the Capitol and I proceeded to walk right in instead of waiting in line with the protesters. The other time was when I was recording the scraping and cleaning of duct tape and other adhesives from the marble and assistant director of the Division of State Facilities, Ron Blair, pushed me with his hands. I also had my cameras snatched by protesters on 2 separate occasions. (Each time, I wrested them back.)

Jim S. said...

The cop pulled the guy back, the guy tripped, surprising both him and the cop. That's unfortunate, and certainly the cop had a duty to ensure the man's safety when he pulled him backwards. But that doesn't constitute throwing him to the floor.

Big Mike said...

I just finished watching the clip for the first time. I think Mr. Arthur Kohl-Riggs needs to get some pro soccer players to coach him in how to take a dive that has at least some verisimilitude.

Big Mike said...

@Matt, I'm pretty convinced that the cop brings his right hand over to try to help Mr. Arthur Kohl-Riggs keep his feet. I spent a number of years in aikido, and I once saw my sensei throw his uke without ever touching him. But that's not what I see in this video. Mr. Arthur Kohl-Riggs deliberately falls down.

MadisonMan said...

The latest, my understanding, is that some Capitol Cop was threatening to arrest people -- like a state Legislator -- for merely watching the Solidarity Singers, because he determined (using what criteria, I wonder) that the watchers were part of the group.

Therein is the problem. The police determine that everyone is part of the group, and arrest everyone. Because it's, you know, policy.

Ben Masel is sorely needed.

grackle said...

The videographer took a dive? Maybe, but the view of the guy was too obstructed for me to tell.

But why did the cop grab him in the first place? Is videotaping against the rules?

Mark said...

Actually MadisonMan, what this needs is Meade doing video from the railing. Does he get warned?

I bet he gets the threat too.

donald said...

Queen. Forget the drama part. And I don't mean he's a homosexual.

Tasso said...

That dive was worthy of a pro soccer contract.