On January 15, 2013, I, Colin Bowden, was detained in the basement of the WI State Capitol, without being read any rights nor having any explanation why I was there, in handcuffs because I looked like a suspect. The person later suspected of a threat is a young black male, as am I. However, most observers have remarked that we do not look alike. Because I was held in detention for a short time and not beaten nor shot, most attorneys have told me there is no case, and that it's just the way the system works. I disagree. I don't think dragging people down into a basement a la "24" is acceptable protocol for those paid to protect our democratic society.
Without protections for all members of society, we've seen the Capitol police arrest and/or cite people who look alike merely because of their skin color, merely because they are political adversaries, or merely because they were in the Capitol and some protest was happening. This precedent will mean no one is safe in what is supposed to be "The People's House". We must fight this on a broader scale, showing that we care about our rights and the rights of our kin.
Please tell Sec. Huebsch and the Department of Administration that from here on out racial profiling must end, that detention of protestors and random passerbys must be respectful of their rights and dignity, and that even political opponents deserve basic constitutional protections. This will require more and better officer training, more diversity in leadership in the Capitol Police, and better forms of communication between protestors and police, starting with the police force. Please undertake this serious work for the sake of preserving our democratic process in Wisconsin.
For more information, please contact Colin Bowden at firstname.lastname@example.org
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