The police were definitely watching, with what many suspected to be a police drone surveilling from above during the main event at 4:20. While one could say the drone being police-operated is speculation, there was definitely an unmarked police SUV parked and observing the crowd early on in the event. After I noticed him sitting there, I walked over to the grass near where he was sitting and pointed my camera at him. Within a minute, he said something into a microphone, rolled up his window and left, not to return. You can see it happen in this highlight video (at about 4:38 in) from the event (minus him talking into the mic – that happened before I hit record, sadly):
Besides a few state police cruisers driving by (not unusual for downtown Concord), that was the extent of any obvious police presence. As has been the case over the eight years of this epic civil disobedience event, no one was arrested.
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.”
The property stolen by the organized gang from a business in downtown Keene in broad daylight on Wednesday, May 7th, 2014, totaled into the tens of thousands of federal reserve notes. And though a couple of the thieves tried to hide their identity with masks, they seemed pretty smug – one even donned a shirt emblazoned with the message “Believe in Heroes.”
Many inhabitants, patrons of the business, and others concerned about the brazen violation of rights, were present and let the criminals know of their disapproval.
This is ultimately about ideas – the individuals captured on film wearing badges of the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Keene Police Department outwardly act as if they alone are not culpable for their actions. That they’re “just doing their job.”
That seems more like a defensive mechanism to prevent themselves from actually having a conversation and thinking about the implications of their own involvement. Not just those harmed at that moment – in this case the business owner and employees and those who engaged in consensual interactions, but themselves, as acting to advance inherently conflicting ideas (that justice can come from coercion) will only compound internal contradictions.
Fortunately, the draconian sweep didn’t invoke fear and paralysis into the owner of Phat Stuff, who has since noted “we are going to use this tragedy as motivation to rebuild…bigger and better than it already was”.
Keene police officers Kyle Macie and new guy Kevin Baca were on the streets last night protecting the town from the scourge of two young men, a bong, and some cannabis in jars. I happened across the scene last night while out biking, pulled out my phone, started up Bambuser, and recorded/streamed the scene:
A local business owner is stopped and harassed and threatened by Keene police on 2013-10-18. Keene Cop Block‘s Ian Freeman is nearby and responds with his video camera. The man is happy for the scene to be recorded so Ian gets in the passenger side of the car!
The write-up below was made by Jason Talley to FreeKeene.com on Oct. 19, 2013. It is shared here in an effort to further crowdsource the information sought – specifically, the identification of the individuals who surveilled those present at Keene’s Pumpkin Fest.
Far from being a rowdy event, the Pumpkin Fest has long been a place for folks from Keene and the region to come together to mark the change of seasons. The presence of snipers – the first time such people have been witnessed at the peaceful gathering – should be disconcerting to anyone not a fan of a militarized Keene.
Recall in early 2012, when Keene police employee Ken Meola and his colleagues atop the corporation called the “City of Keene” ignored those they claim to represent, and from who they steal money to pay their own salaries, and pushed-through the acquisition of the Bearcat, they cited as one potential use the Pumpkin Fest.
The police state apparatus seen at Keene Pumpkin Fest part of a trend – if it’s not questioned it will continue. The inertia built-in to the institutions that today claim to exist to provide security and protection, but in reality grow in size and scope, do so only at an inverse relationship to justice, liberty, and peace.