Recently I wrote the eulogy for Cop Block, the national police accountability activist news website. Nothing lasts forever, especially in the world of activism, where doing the right thing rarely means one can make a living at it. Burnout is real and has happened to some of the brightest activists to ever hit the Cop Block scene.
Cop Block as a national organization may have died, but it’s not dead here in New Hampshire, where it was incubated – according to founder Pete Eyre – in Keene.
Toward the end of this summer, state and local police set up DUI checkpoints in Cheshire county for the first time in five years. Thomas Parisi from The Jail Paper came out with the group to document the checkpoint. It was set up just a few hundred feet from the bridge to Brattleboro, VT so we had multiple Cop Blockers on both points of entry to the checkpoint with multiple reflective signs alerting peaceful motorists to the upcoming harassment. Not surprisingly, state police statistics reported zero DUIs were found during the checkpoint, though they did write a bunch of motor vehicle violation tickets and make a few drug possession arrests. So, all victimless “crimes” – another huge waste of taxpayer dollars.
Brandon Pinney Awaits Trial in a “Fuck Cops” Handmade Shirt
After being found guilty last year in Keene District Court of “disorderly conduct” for telling state police to “fuck off”, NH-native Brandon Pinney appealed to a jury trial. I’m happy to announce that thanks to a hung jury, Brandon is victorious, as the state has decided to not retry the case. In an email, Brandon says:
Just letting you know that the deadline has passed for the state to retry me and the hung jury stands. While i am disappointed I was not fully exonerated i am glad and fortunate that in my case a jury of my peers was able to see that the situation did not unfold as the state presented it.
For the full initial district court trial video, you can check out this post. At the time, he heroically wore a “FUCK COPS” homemade t-shirt into court. Free speech includes the right to say unpleasant things to government officials. The district court judge, Edward Burke, was wrong to uphold the charge against him and it was good to see some jurors could see the situation clearly. This is a clear free speech issue, and in the long run the state would have lost in its own courts. Brandon stated further: (more…)
This post was originally made on CopBlock.org. I’m posting it here as well, as who knows what’s going to happen with that site:
Hi, I’m Ian Freeman. I’m one of the original Cop Blockers, which is why I possess badge number five. I’ve been a longtime Cop Blocker, financial supporter and occasional blogger here. Both of Cop Block’s founders, Pete Eyre and Ademo Freeman have lived with me in my home and they are great friends with whom I’ve had some amazing times.
I was alarmed this Summer when Ademo announced that he was putting CopBlock.org up for sale. I wasn’t surprised that he wanted out. Ademo has seen his share of burnout and has suffered greatly in his quest to hold police accountable. Ademo was a trailblazer in police accountability activism and deserves as much of a break as he wants. He’s currently describing himself as a “happily retired activist” and he should be. Our world is better off because Cop Block is in it.
What surprised me about his request to sell the site was the fact that Ademo felt he had to resort to a sale at all. Where were all the Cop Blockers who should have stepped up to take the reins? Ademo had asked the primary contributors to the site about taking over lead roles. Apparently no one stepped up, so Ademo decided to auction the site. When I found this out, I asked around and sure enough, while some people were willing to help, no one wanted to lead.
Ultimately someone made an offer on the site and Ademo accepted. He said the buyer did not want to be known and that the buyer was going to continue the site.
The only content posted to CopBlock.org in three months.
We’re now approximately a quarter-year from that purchase and you can see the posts on the site have dropped off a cliff. Regular posting halted at the end of July and nothing was posted until September 1st when an account with username “COPBLOCK” posted about the most-reported-on police abuse story of the year, the Utah nurse who was violently arrested by a hothead cop (who now thinks he should have his job back, by the way). The post has one sentence and video of the arrest. That’s it.
Gone are the obscure, outrageous stories of police abuse from around the US and globe.
Gone is the incisive libertarian commentary on the police state.
Gone are new videos from Cop Blockers in the streets. (more…)
Former Police Chief and Convicted Child Rapist Robert K Chambers Sr.
The reason why the government police can be so corrupt and violent is because they have a monopoly on violence. There’s no competition allowed in the marketplace. Worse, you’re forced to fund the police, even if they are doing things you disagree with, like arresting people for possession of cannabis, teens for alcohol, or committing multiple counts of rape against a child.
Many people mistakenly believe all Cop Blockers are against the police. The truth is, I’m not against the police. I’m in favor of when police protect people from real crime involving a victim. I have even assisted the police when they were investigating real crimes. However if police are arresting people for victimless crimes, I will oppose that. I’m a police accountability activist, which means holding the cops to their promise of doing good by reporting on the bad ones. The worst cops are those like Chambers, who are clearly people in search of power over others, as this recent despicable example sadly proves.
It’s of course, not the first time that NH’s top cops have been caught up in ugly news, revealing some of them as corrupt, power seekers. Don’t forget the New London, NH chief who allegedly coerced college girls to take nude photos in the police basement when they were arrested for some victimless crime or another. Or how about the Canterbury, NH chief who allegedly used his position of power to engage in sexual acts with a female teen police explorer? There’s the Haverhill, NH chief who resigned after being busted for DUI. Obviously not all chiefs are low-life hypocrites, but you have to wonder how many of them are corrupt. There’s no way to stop a corrupt officer from rising through the ranks of power, since if you withhold taxes in protest, the very same police will come and attack you and your family. (more…)
Large Group Copblocks DUI Checkpoint in Manchester, NH
As one of the original copblockers (badge #5), I’ve been in the streets a lot over the years. I’ve helped save people from harassment by the police on countless occasions, informed thousands of young people about their rights, and have been arrested several times.
There’s no doubt that a couple of dedicated copblockers can make an impact out there. I’ve seen that happen. However, have you ever hit the streets with a dozen people on your side?
I’d bet you haven’t. We just don’t have enough people in most places to accomplish numbers like that. Police accountability activism in the streets is a risky place to be, so its hard to find people who are willing to go out, even among vocal supporters.
I have had the pleasure of being out with large groups and let me tell you, it’s a game changer, especially in New Hampshire, where there aren’t a whole lot of police in most towns. Even in its biggest city of over 100,000 people, Manchester, the police DUI checkpoints have basically been shut down by groups of up to a few dozen people. The DUI checkpoint activists come out every time the police do a checkpoint and the activists bring reflective signs, cameras, two-way radios, and set up at strategic locations to alert drivers to the existence of the checkpoint and encourage them to turn away. At a recent such event, there was a relatively small turnout of only about a dozen people and they reported 90% success at getting cars who were going to turn into the checkpoint road to turn away from it instead! There was one arrest at the event, as a couple visiting Keene copblockers ventured away from the group to target the checkpoint directly with their cameras. Activist Christopher Waid was threatened and arrested as he crossed the street into the median. You can check out video of that here. What would have happened if there were a dozen people backing Chris up instead of just one? (more…)
Chris Waid (right), Safely in the Median on Main St. in Keene in 2016.
On April 20th, Manchester police conducted another DUI checkpoint, believed to be the first of 2017. As always, Cop Blockers and more than a dozen other liberty activists came out with signs redirecting peaceful motorists away from turning down Bridge St, where they would have hit the checkpoint.
Longtime Manchester Cop Blocker Riaz Kahan stated that the interdiction was a major success, with 90% of cars that were intending to turn towards the checkpoint being redirected to another route, avoiding unnecessary police harassment. Manchester police conduct at least a few of these checkpoints per year and activists from all over the state are attracted to help. It’s another unprecedented level of activism that happens easily and regularly in New Hampshire, since there are active migrations of libertarians moving here. (Check out 101 reasons why, here.)
However, for the first time in the history of Manchester’s checkpoints, an activist was arrested. Not for DUI, but for crossing the street, walking toward the checkpoint.
Chris is a weekly co-host on syndicated radio show Free Talk Live, where we discussed the arrest on last Friday’s show. He’s a rare breed – a business owner who is willing to put his very freedom on the line. If more business owners had this level of courage, they could just ignore the government rather than obey them, and the government would have to go away.
In addition to standing up for freedom of the press, Chris is an active police accountability activist, with many hours logged in the streets, recording cops. It is his right to stand where he wants, so long as he’s not actively interfering in police investigations. By standing in the median, he’s taking his risk and the police have no obligation to protect him, especially from himself. If they try to use the argument that them yelling at him was for his own safety, that hopefully won’t hold up in court. We’ve been in medians frequently for activism in Keene and police here have been mostly respectful towards us. By the way, Chris is a homeowner in Keene, to which he moved his linux hardware business, Think Penguin in early 2016.
He’s currently facing a “Disorderly Conduct” Class A charge – the police’s favorite catch-all to target people they don’t like. Of course, we’ll continue to follow Chris’ case closely on Free Keene, so stay tuned.