Keene, NH holds the distinction of being the home of both Cop Block founders Pete Eyre and Ademo Freeman. New Hampshire is also the destination for the Free State Project, which is encouraging liberty-minded people, including police accountability activists, to move together so as to be more effective. What better place to hold a yearly panel discussing Cop Blocking?
Pumpkin Fest 2014: Dozens of Staties Attack Three Innocent, Teen Students
Ryan McLellan and his friends never hurt anyone or destroyed any property on the night of Pumpkin Fest 2014. However, that didn’t stop dozens of state police from swarming and attacking the three young men as they attempted to go to the Campus Convenience store on the corner of the block where their dorm was located. Earlier in the day and night there were riots in the neighborhood, but by the early morning hours when Ryan and his friends were attacked, there was nothing happening.
Well, I shouldn’t say nothing. Their neighborhood was being occupied by a very large group of armed men who were in a mood to order around and kidnap anyone they darn well wanted. Here’s the original video I released at the time, which shows the arrests and surrounding scene in full. Just minutes prior to their attack, but before the huge throng of state police had been brought in, I had been in the exact same place as the young men. Though the cops who were there at the time prohibited me from crossing into Winchester St., (for no apparent reason other than arbitrary control), they did not tackle and arrest me, like was done to Ryan and his friends.
Sadly, despite his being a clear case of police abuse and having an attorney willing to take the case to trial and beyond, Ryan took the plea deal, having a nonsense “resisting arrest” charge conditionally nolle-prossed in return for his guilty plea to “disorderly conduct”. These are two of the police’s favorite charges to throw at someone who they don’t like, but has otherwise done nothing wrong.
They were going to the convenience store. It was past midnight and they were hungry. When told to “GO HOME!”, they seemed confused – after all, they had committed no crimes, and further, there were other normal people walking down Winchester St, so why were they allowed to walk somewhere but not Ryan and friends?
“My son has had 2 MRIs bad concussion lives with headaches everyday, dislocated his shoulder, sprained ankle and bruised the inside of his mouth from kneeling on his face.”
During sentencing, judge Edward J Burke fined him $1,000 suspended for two years on condition of good behavior, gave him 50 hours of community service, and lectured him as though he were somehow as bad as the people who had committed violence or property destruction, despite him never being accused of doing any such thing!
It was sad to watch. If you’re ever facing criminal charges, especially in the case of police abuse – please consider not taking the plea deal. Taking the plea only encourages more bad behavior from the police and “justice” system like this and ensures you’ll never be able to challenge what they did to you.
Finally, before you accuse me of being anti-police, remember it was my video I gave to Keene police that led to the capture and conviction of people who actually committed violent and property crime during the Pumpkin Fest riots. I am fine with the police going after real criminals, but not peaceful people like Ryan and his friends.
Multiple liberty activists responded to the scene after local independent journalist Jared Goodell posted the news that armed police were on Central Square. (Goodell’s personal facebook profile is quickly becoming a go-to destination for breaking news in Keene.) Keene police kept the initial call from the alleged hostage-taker off of their two-way radio system, in what was the beginning of a campaign to preclude the public from actually knowing anything about what was happening in their midst.
All people in the streets knew was the police were hiding behind brick walls, brandishing guns and observing the block of buildings that includes 39 Central Square. To their credit, the Keene police were not preventing people from taking the risk of walking downtown, but they were at the same time not informing anyone about the risk that may have been present.
When asked, multiple pairs of the officers surrounding the building would deny any knowledge of why they were there. Why lie? After I asked three sets of officers what was happening, I finally got the barest minimum of information out of Michael “Pepper” Kopcha. He admitted there may be a situation in the building, but again, gave no information as to what danger may be present.
There are arguments both for and against how they responded, but there’s no good reason to keep people in the dark about what is happening, especially if they want people to believe they are “serving and protecting” them. (more…)
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…)