Capitol protester faces harassment charge
Charge stems from events in July
MADISON, Wis. — A protester at the state Capitol building is accused of harassing a member of the Capitol press corps.
A Capitol police incident report indicates that the criminal charge against Jeremy Ryan, 23, stems from events in early July.
Gwyn Guenther, president of the Wisconsin Capitol Correspondents Association, told Capitol police that Ryan was repeatedly outside the Capitol press room, yelling and disrupting employees, according to the police report.
Guenther also told Capitol police that, at one point, Ryan sang a song mocking her late father, longtime political journalist Dick Wheeler, according to the report.
“I support everyone’s First Amendment rights to do freedom of speech, but we have to look at some of the things that are happening here and how people are presenting this First Amendment,” said Capitol Police Chief David Erwin.
But Capitol protesters said no law was broken.
“They give us a reason to come back every day, and all this flexing of muscles just keeps us coming back. So if that’s what they want, they’re doing a great job,” said Lisa Wells, a protester at the Capitol.
WISC-TV contacted Guenther for comment but she declined.
Capitol police said they cannot comment specifically on what happened outside the press room because the case is pending.