Former Senator Dave Zien involved in ruckus at state capitol

By: Amelia Cerling Email
By: Amelia Cerling Email

Former State Senator Dave Zien is making headlines after causing a ruckus in Madison’s capitol rotunda on Tuesday.

Zien, who lost his leg in a motorcycle accident in March, was caught on video rolling his wheelchair over protesters belongings in the capitol rotunda during a daily sing-along. We talked to Zien Wednesday afternoon and he tells us it all happened completely differently.

The solidarity sing-along happens ever day at noon in the capitol rotunda. But Tuesday’s sing-along went awry when Zien and two other men entered the rotunda; Zien is seen in the video rolling his wheelchair over protesters belongings.

But Zien told us on the phone it was a protester who slipped a sign beneath his wheelchair.

“That video was made by the protesters, that video started at the point where apparently somebody put something beneath my wheelchair, how dare they treat a cripple like that. But apparently somebody put something beneath my wheelchair and I couldn’t back up and I couldn’t go forward. At no point did I run over anybody’s toes. As far as I know I have the right to free speech like anybody else,” Zien says.

Meanwhile, according to witnesses two other men draped Zien's "Don't tread on me" flag over the singer's heads. Witnesses also say one of the men even punched a protester in the face. Again, Zien refutes these allegations.

“They hit our person, not the other way around,” he says.

The Wisconsin State Journal reports both of those men were arrested, one for battery and the other for disorderly conduct.

“The very last paragraph of the Wisconsin State Journal is the exact opposite. The singers are saying they were being singled out and assaulted, dare they say that. The singled us out and they assaulted us,” he finishes.

A Milwaukee TV station says this is the first incident of violence in what until now has been four months of peaceful protest against Governor Walker's budget and stripping away of public employee’s collective bargaining rights.

Dave Zien served as the 23rd district republican senator from 1993 to 2007. He was not arrested in the rotunda ruckus.

Zien says Capitol police interviewed between 8 and 12 protesters on Tuesday; he is asking that all of them be charged with obstruction of justice for giving false statements.

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  • by yumalou Location: Eau Claire on Jun 30, 2011 at 09:22 AM
    I know that running into singers and playing chicken with singers excercising their first ammendment rights is a non issue for those on the right, but come on Zien is still such an embarrassment to the Chippewa Valley. The Leader Telegram may long for the good "old days" when Zien milked his transportation expense account, but a lot of us do not miss the Dave Zien Road Show.
  • by Jan Location: odessa on Jun 25, 2011 at 10:57 AM
    What a classy guy. No wonder our youth are so excited about politics. Personally, I think he has some really really bad karma, but is clueless of course.
  • by Ben Location: CF on Jun 24, 2011 at 07:59 AM
    It sounds like Zien lost more than a leg in that crash
  • by Freedom Man Location: EC on Jun 24, 2011 at 05:27 AM
    They say a picture is worth a thousand words, ask Anthony Weiner. Maybe the nut case Zein had his wheel chair hacked too. That video clearly shows an out of control rabble rouser. How much did the koch brothers pay ya Davey boy? He should be arrested for his actions. And then to act like that with his Grand kids with. He should be ashamed!!!!!!! Thank god he is out of office.
    • reply
      by Ted on Jun 24, 2011 at 09:45 PM in reply to Freedom Man
      Interesting that someone just happened to be filming from the balcony looking down at the exact moment and location when Zien rolled into the lobby. He said someone messed with his chair--could be he was being set up so the left-wing would have a video like this to post to youtube. Too bad WEAU didn't play the video without a voiceover so you could hear what was being said. Funny that no video seems to exist when the real "ruckus" broke out between one of the singers and the guys with the flag--that would have made more interesting TV, but no left-winger would turn over a video of their boy throwing a punch or taking one in the kisser.
  • by X-Neocon Location: Madison on Jun 23, 2011 at 09:39 PM
    Too bad the driver in Florida had such bad aim. We would be rid of the welfare king Zien.
    • reply
      by tobias on Jun 24, 2011 at 10:05 AM in reply to X-Neocon
      low lifes as yourself should be the the last to say anything about a freedom fighter like dave he is a great man and it is an honor to be a friend of dave
      • reply
        by Ray on Jun 24, 2011 at 12:14 PM in reply to tobias
        Freedom fighter? LOL! Expense account milker is more like it!
    • reply
      by Reply on Jun 24, 2011 at 05:00 PM in reply to X-Neocon
      Zien hit him....but watch him collect huge settlements. The guy milked the system all his life. Disabled, but can ride a motorcycle hundreds of miles, push it uphill,etc....and collect pay and benefits while a senator holding meetings in taverns,etc...It goes on and on.
  • by Jaime Location: Eau Claire on Jun 23, 2011 at 09:39 PM
    Maybe all you need to be thankful that YOU didnt loose YOUR leg from someone elses fault and are now in a wheelchair. Maybe you should be thankful you have able to walk on your own god giving legs! Some of your comments are just right down not human but animal comments. You have NO idea what this guy has been through NOR do you know what happen when this was video taped by an ANTI-GUN person at a PRO-GUN event.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Jun 24, 2011 at 11:57 AM in reply to Jaime
      Losing a leg doesn't give him a license to be a combative jerk. Also, this was not a "pro-gun" event. These people were in the capitol, protesting. They are others like them have been there for months with no violence. This was in No way a "pro-gun" event. Zein showing up doesn't automatically turn it into a "pro-gun" event. There was nothing gun related here. Just Zein and his cronies stirring the pot and trying to intimidate people.
    • reply
      by Chiuck on Jun 24, 2011 at 12:16 PM in reply to Jaime
      Actually it was a pro union sing-along, not a "PRO-GUN" event. Don't let your emotion get in the way of the facts...
    • reply
      by wisocialworker on Jun 24, 2011 at 03:06 PM in reply to Jaime
      I was there, this was the public sing a long event which takes place every weekday at noon, all are welcome, it as NOT an anti gun event. Also, Former Rep. Zien was going around so fast and yelling with such fervor that he failed to look where he was going, I was afraid he was going to spill over in fact. Some singers had their jackets etc. on the floor in from of them so they could hold their song books, I saw him roll on to the first persons things, I was afraid he was going to tip over, but he was able to steer around it and more forward, no one threw anything at him, he was very intent on his bold effort to communicate with us his feelings that he didn't look where he was going, that's all. I thought he had a lot of courage to voice his opinion that way. The other two men with the flag however crossed a line by draping their flag in front of people while standing behind them , it was not OK.
      • reply
        by citizen on Jun 24, 2011 at 04:56 PM in reply to wisocialworker
        Thank you for your balanced, reasonable eye-witness report.
      • reply
        by Diane on Jun 25, 2011 at 10:40 AM in reply to wisocialworker
        Why don't you people go home. We'er so very tired of your disgusting antics.
  • by Loren Location: CF on Jun 23, 2011 at 08:47 PM
    The video really doesn't show much. All of you here are seeing what you want to see. I personally dislike DZ. I thought he was gone, but just like in the horror films, he keeps coming back to life. AAAAHHHH!! Anyway you slice it, DZ is a nutjob. Just like his mother, whom I had the mispleasure of meeting.
  • by anonymous on Jun 23, 2011 at 07:33 PM
    No violence from the dems? Explain this
    • reply
      by wisocialworker on Jun 24, 2011 at 03:10 PM in reply to anonymous
      Mr. Clark apologized immediately, Mr. Zien is blaming others for his own actions, who has more integrity?
  • by Silence Dogoode Location: EC on Jun 23, 2011 at 06:32 PM
    Just a thought... How can you trust Zein when he has so many inconsistencies stemming from his "decorated" military past?
  • by bird watcher on Jun 23, 2011 at 06:27 PM
    It's the old "if it looks like a duck" theory. If it LOOKS like a crazy man, and it Talks like a crazy man,etc. etc. Just address him as senator Zien, smile, and back away slowly.
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