For years, Free Keene has provided the community service of a Keene police scanner feed, which was highly-listened during the Pumpkin Fest riots, with over 300 simultaneous streams being served that night.
Keene and Manchester have long been hotspots for copblocking and especially so in 2014. Manchester has had regular DUI checkpoints that have been blocked by 30-40 activists throughout the Summer. Keene Cop Block has generated huge positive name recognition with their regular know-your-rights outreach & copblocking in the college neighborhood on weekend nights. Learn about what’s happening in the Shire from some of the key activists involved in Keenevention‘s first-ever Cop Block panel. Presented by Cop Block’s Eric Freerock. Panelists included Joël Valenzuela, Centurion, and Christopher Cantwell.
After I got off-the-air from my live Saturday radio program (on which we discussed the initial Pumpkin Fest 2014 riots), I headed back down to the college. At the time, there was a helicopter broadcasting a message to disperse or be arrested. I arrived at the gateway to Keene State College – Winchester St. to witness a huge throng of police marching down the street. I quickly pulled out my camera and began to record:
After walking around the nearest building on campus, in full view of the line of police, activists walked onto campus and right back over to Winchester St. We continued walking west on Winchester and no cops said anything to us there. However, we again went on campus and came back out on Madison St., on the west end of the college. Here there were several police standing around the intersection and one of them told me we couldn’t pass, despite college students walking down Winchester St. immediately behind them. (more…)
Rather than only arresting people who were causing violence and destruction, the police were targeting people crossing arbitrary lines and partying on private property. In this excellent ten-minute video, Alex is right there when cops create all kinds of unnecessary mayhem: (click links below to jump to that part if you are short on time)
They shoot pepperballs at party houses on Winchester St – completely unnecessary – those people were on private property and not in the road. It’s arguable that pepperballs are useful to clear a crowd who won’t leave a street and indeed, blocking streets is one of the reasons the “disorderly conduct” statute exists, but the people at these houses were just enjoying themselves. The use of pepperballs in this situation is just aggressive.
Guy walking down sidewalk is violently arrested by a throng of cops – This guy is literally just walking down the sidewalk. He’s hasn’t threatened anyone and is not blocking the street. The reason he can’t walk down the sidewalk is, well, because the men with guns say so. The reason the cops decide to jump him like he’s strapped with a bomb is, because they can.
It’s behavior like this from police that alienates them from average people. This is why Cop Block is so popular on campus. Here are the students’ sensible responses to the violence that was visited upon them by the police:
“We’re not terrorists. We love America. We just like to drink! Don’t shoot us!”
There’s a reason why the young ladies in the video think that the police are “pieces of shit” because they hurt their peaceful friends – every weekend, not just Pumpkin Fest. If all the police did was arrest people who hurt others or destroy property, it wouldn’t be as big a deal if they cleared some streets with pepperballs, but the adrenaline-hyped cops seem to have a penchant for escalating a situation. There’s more footage showing police attacking people for walking peacefully long after the riots had subsided – I’ll upload that soon enough. Stay tuned here to Free Keene for the latest on the Pumpkin Fest Riots of 2014.
more comments from Ian Freeman about his motivations and actions to help create a peaceful community
a recount from a student filmed by someone active with Keene Cop Block during his interaction with strangers wearing badges
comments by Amanda Guthorn, the director of campus safety at Keene State
By: Alexa Ondreicka
For years, videos have been floating around the internet exposing police officers in every way possible.
While there are many different viewpoints surrounding the actions of the police force, students at Keene State College in particular are being thrust into an entirely separate situation with the implementation of CopBlock every Friday and Saturday night.
CopBlock, according to member Ian Freeman, is a “decentralized organization—meaning nobody’s in charge of anybody else—that exists worldwide.”
Freeman noted that holding police accountable for their actions is their main focus, hoping to expose police officers who target people for “victimless crimes,” such as open container violations or possession of marijuana.
CopBlockers expose these police officers by video-taping their interactions with the people they are targeting and then placing the videos online for the public to see.
Graphic by Sean Crater, webmaster, Keene Equinox
“A primary sort of weapon we use against the police is the video camera,” Freeman explained, “Police accountability is the focus of CopBlock, and the best way to hold them accountable, we’ve found, is through the public’s eye.”
Freeman said, “A CopBlocker can’t be there every time the police are behaving badly. It’s your responsibility to protect yourself and the best thing you can do is record your interaction. I’ve seen cameras change how a police-encounter goes more times than I can count. And usually changes it for the better.”
He continued, “That’s all it takes—to have a concern for the people around you. And trying to create an environment where the police behave better, hopefully, and that fewer people get hurt, and fewer peaceful people will get arrested.”
A few tweaks have been made to the know-your-rights flyer we’ve been handing out on the streets of Keene for years. They contain simple, solid info about your rights when encountering police. Even if you think you already know your rights, it doesn’t hurt to review. Please share! Click the graphics for the full-size versions or click: (front, back):