"Occupy Milwaukee" protester released after misunderstanding at bank

CREATED Oct. 21, 2011

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  • Shelley Walcott reports Video by wtmj.com

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MILWAUKEE- There is some controversy after a rally organized by members of "Occupy Milwaukee" in front of a downtown bank resulted in the arrest of one protester.

But people who were there say he was unfairly targeted.

Police say a protester went inside the bank yelling "this is a hostile takeover," but at least one person who was there tells TODAY'S TMJ4 nothing like that happened.

A protest Thursday outside the downtown M&I Bank had a couple dozen demonstrators from the "Occupy Milwaukee" movement, marching outside the building.

At the center, leading the so-called "teach-in" is Austin Thompson, one of the group's organizers.

But about 10 minutes into the rally, Milwaukee Police moved in and arrest Thompson.

A police spokesperson says he  yelled "this is a hostile takeover", leading at least one bank employee to believe they were being robbed.

But some of Thompson's fellow protesters say that never happened.

"He never said anything to the likes of what they say that he said. And I was there I heard it, I saw it all," said one protester to TODAY'S TMJ4. Another said that Thompson said, "Class is in session."

Hannah Engber says the event was a non-violent protest of TARP bailout recipient M&I Bank.

She says police should have known no one from "Occupy Milwaukee" was planning on holding up the bank.

"They know our intentions. They know who we are. They know we're not robbing a bank. So the fact that they would even say that is a reason for Austin being arrested is kind of ridiculous," Engber told TODAY'S TMJ4.

Austin was released from the Milwaukee County Jail Friday morning and he has not yet been charged with a crime.