Last week the write-up CopBlock works to keep police in check, authored by Alexa Ondreicka, went live at The Keene Equinox, which has the tagline, “The voice of Keen State College.” Below are some experts from the piece
Click here to read the full article, which also gives:
- 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.”
- Film The Police – page with tactics, maps, links to smartphone apps, and more
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.
This video was posted to YouTube.com/FreeKeene and embedded on a post at FreeKeene.com by Ian Freeman, co-host of Free Talk Live
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”.
The below was written by ‘shire inhabitant Michael Gordon about his experience walking into legaland and choosing not to admit guilt were none exists but to speak the truth.
Thanks to our friends at FreeKeene.com for filming and uploading the interaction!
by Michael Gordon
I sit here at almost midnight approximately three days after I told myself I’d write something about this ordeal. I’m such a busy person. We got us up at 7am this morning. Our family has been going non-stop today just as we always do. The last few years I’ve been afraid of what would happen when my non compliance came calling. I know that if I’m afraid then I’ve lost. If they control my mind there can be no freedom. The amount of time it takes to earn $63 is much less than the time I must invest to not be afraid of this system. Its much simpler to pay the ransom demanded of me.
At first I was a nervous. As we began the conference I could see Scott was uncomfortable. Scott squirmed in his seat and made ticking sounds with his mouth. I’m sure the greatest tool we currently have for accountability there increased these feelings. Quickly I begin to feel more confident in what I was doing. No reason for me to be nervous. I’m not the one who’s doing anything wrong.
The first 45-seconds of the video Scott barely makes eye contact. Made ticking sounds with his mouth and wiggled in his seat. His body language says he’s uncomfortable. He’s uncomfortable because he knows what he’s doing is wrong. Or at least the limbic part of his brain does. A number of times Scott expresses sympathy towards my situation but admits well that’s how things are. What Scott fails to understand, he’s the enforcer of the aggressive acts against me. Around 4:40 Scott says he doesn’t blame me for not wanting to go to jail. Around 6:15 Scott states how unfortunate the consequences of my disobedience are. If he truly feels their unfortunate then why does he perpetrate them?
An important point I want to make, “we the people” are not free. How free can I be if I can’t travel unencumbered without having a piece of plastic on my person and a sticker on the vehicle I’m driving?
Wish me luck. I do not plan to pay the ransom against me. Each time I must appear I will be doing so under duress.
A couple weeks back I posted to copblock.org “Brady Cops” (below in its entirety) to solicit input from readers on how best to acquire the names of police employees known to have lied in court and thus be of questionable integrity. Known as a “Brady list” or in the ‘shire, as “Laurie list,” per a case that involved someone by that name, today, on the New Hampshire Bar Association site an opinion piece by Jeffrey M. Kaye weighed-in on the subject.
While it’s a step in the right direction as it would make the process a bit more transparent, it still falls far short from what should be done – the names of so-called “Laurie cops” should be made public for all to see. And if the police employee on that list lied in legaland, they should obviously be held accountable.
Opinion: Defense Attorney Suggests New ‘Laurie List’ Procedures
By: Jeffrey M. Kaye
Editor’s Note: Jeffrey Kaye represented Cody Eller in a criminal case that lasted more than two years before Superior Court Judge Jacalyn Colburn in April 2013 set aside the verdict based on “Laurie” discovery violations, after it came to light that the arresting officer’s credibility had been called into question. The case was resolved by a plea agreement in November. In a letter submitted to the NH Supreme Court Advisory Committee on Rules last month, Kaye suggested a number of protocols and procedures the court could adopt to ensure exculpatory evidence is disclosed to the defense in a timely fashion. The following is an edited version of that letter.
The New Hampshire Supreme Court and the Advisory Committee on Rules must address and mandate procedures to be followed by prosecuting officers statewide relative to disclosing exculpatory evidence to defense counsel.
From November 2012 until April 15, 2013, this defense counsel filed more than 10 motions to obtain exculpatory discovery in State v. Cody Eller. During Eller’s first trial, the court reviewed the limited material provided by the police and the county attorney’s office, which did not include any exculpatory materials that would have been favorable to the defense. NH Superior Court Judge Jacalyn Colburn, in her decision on April 16, 2013, set aside the initial verdict against Eller, based on “Laurie” discovery violations – the first time that has happened in 18 years.
The initial prosecution of Cody Eller should make everyone involved in the criminal justice system exceedingly uncomfortable. In an April 1995 decision, New Hampshire attorney and former US Supreme Court Justice David Souter warned that: “Unless, indeed, the adversary system of prosecution is to descend to a gladiatorial level unmitigated by any prosecutorial obligation for the sake of truth, the government simply cannot avoid responsibility for knowing when the suppression of evidence has come to portend such an effect on a trial’s outcome as to destroy confidence in its result.”
I understand the NH Attorney General’s Office is now considering new protocols for county attorneys to access possible exculpatory materials in criminal cases. It should be noted that any protocols or procedures established by the attorney general’s offices is just an instruction, and not mandated by the courts. I believe the court advisory committee on rules should examine the following issues:
At what point should the defense have access to potential exculpatory and impeachment evidence in criminal prosecutions?
In the prosecution of Cody Eller, former Pelham police officer Stahl, who was the prime witness, had a history, over 12 years, of a “pattern of conduct” of arresting youthful offenders, bullying them into confessions and violating their civil rights. The Pelham Board of Selectmen explicitly fired him in August 2013 for this “pattern of conduct” during a public, video-recorded termination proceeding. Unfortunately, if we looked at each isolated episode of Stahl’s misconduct, we would not see the whole picture – that “pattern of misconduct.” How can the court avoid this kind of situation in the future?
Should the defense be entitled to access, subject to a confidentiality agreement, any possible exculpatory or impeachment materials, which have been produced and submitted by local police departments to the charging authority, before those materials are totally filtered?
Should the court provide a defense attorney with a list of what potentially exculpatory materials the prosecution has provided to the court and which materials have been reviewed by the judge?
By Pete Eyre
Self-proclaimed “authorities” dictate that it’s a crime for you to lie to a police employee, but it’s permissible for that police employee to lie to you. This is demonstrative of the double-standards upon which today’s policing institution is based.
Police employees lie in conversations on the street (when soliciting information), in their own reports (to make their version of the “truth” fit the scenario), and in legaland (a practice so commonplace that it’s been coined ‘testilying’).
- telling lies under oath; standard operating procedure for police officers acting as witnesses in trials (UrbanDictionary.com)
- police perjury is the act of a police officer giving false testimony (Wikipedia.org)
Apparently, while you are secondary to the police employee when on the street (despite claims that they work for you), in legaland, should a police employee be caught lying, the facade of objectivity of the criminals justice system is made a higher-priority, as the name of the police employee is recorded on a list known as the “Brady list.” From the Brady v Maryland entry on Wikipedia:
Police officers who have been dishonest are sometimes referred to as “Brady cops.” Because of the Brady ruling, prosecutors are required to notify defendants and their attorneys whenever a law enforcement official involved in their case has a sustained record for knowingly lying in an official capacity
Recently we received an email from a gentleman in Michigan who questioned how Brady lists could be obtained. I didn’t know. I looked and didn’t find a step-by-step process outlined (surprise!). Thus I was motivated to write this post in the hope that you, the reader, would have some information helpful to answer this question.
Should a FOIA request be sent to each state attorney general (as they are atop the police hierarchy in each state), or to each county attorney (as the prosecutor, who’d then be privy to such info), or to each police outfit (who possess the files necessary for the Brady classification to be made), or is there another, less-laborious means?
I did inquire of a lawyer bud in NH, who noted that there, the list isn’t called a “Brady list” but a”Laurie list” after the case State v. Laurie. He said each defendant had the right to such information for those who were going to be called to testify in their case at legaland, and that he questioned whether police outfits would release such information to the public, noting that it may be claimed it’d violate the police employee’s personnel file.
Also, another friend is inquiring of his lawyer friend based in California on how best to proceed.
Hopefully between those leads, and the input generated from this post, a process can be determined, and the names of all known Brady cops can be acquired and posed here to CopBlock.org.