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The Case of the Bloody Balloon
A capitol protester sues a state worker who injured himself and collects $19,000.
Ronald Blair
The Capital Times
 in Madison is reporting that a state employee has paid a capitol protester $19,000 for popping her balloon  and then accidentally cutting himself.

Ronald Blair, now 58, was working as the assistant director of the Division of State Facilities (part of the state Department of Administration) when the bloody incident occurred inside the capitol in 2011. Blair, who said he was tired of cleaning up balloons left inside the building's rotunda, walked up to the protester, Leslie Peterson, a freelance medical interpreter and activist, and stabbed her balloon with a pocket knife.

Peterson later claimed the heart-shaped balloon suffered "four small puncture marks and a large slash," and at some point in the deflating process, Blair inadvertently sliced himself and began to bleed. Peterson says she feared that she had been stabbed and not Blair and followed him into the capitol's basement, where he pushed her up against a wall.

Peterson's lawyer told the Cap Times: "This could have been a serious event for Ms. Peterson. She could have been stabbed."

Blair later pleaded guilty to a disorderly conduct charge, and Peterson also sued him. The $19,000 settlement resolves that case.

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