This post was originally made on CopBlock.org.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.
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.
After taking some time to reflect on this current issue, as Sheriff, I’ve decided that the Cheshire County Sheriff’s Office will not seek to enter into an agreement with the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) to enforce federal immigrations laws. Furthermore, we will not participate in raids, stings or operations that are solely intended at locating an undocumented person or persons. Any representative of ICE requesting our assistance must have an active criminal warrant issued by a judge or must be actively pursuing a criminal investigation that relates to public safety for us to participate.
According to the Sentinel’s report on Rivera’s announcement Keene Police’s acting chief, Steve Russo has yet to comment on the issue, but his late predecessor Brian Costa‘s position was similar to Rivera’s, saying, “We have no interest going forward, nor do we have the resources for deputizing our officers as part of ICE to go out and seek illegal or undocumented immigrants…We govern ourselves by our mission statement”, which says KPD is “to protect life and property and to maintain order within the City while assuring fair and respectful treatment of everyone.”
It sounds like Sheriff Rivera is on the same page as Costa. In his excellent statement, Rivera continues:
In addition, we will not ask a person their immigration status or detain a person based on an administrative civil detainer that is not issued by a judge. As Sheriff, I do not want undocumented immigrants to fear the Sheriff’s Office, instead I want them to be able to approach and speak to any of my deputies without the fear that they will be turned over to ICE. If in the course of our duties we happen to come across an undocumented person we will handle each encounter in a way we deem appropriate for each situation…
If you are an undocumented person in Cheshire County and feel uncertain about approaching law enforcement for fear they will turned you over to ICE, feel free to call me, Sheriff Eli Rivera, at the Cheshire County Sheriff’s Office.
According to the WMUR report on Rivera’s policy, some control-freak politicians are butthurt over this. Good. Unlike those cowardly politicians, kudos to Rivera for having the courage to do the right thing and truly protect the people of Cheshire county from the evil hands of the federal government. It would be better of course if Rivera would also stop cooperating with the feds on other victimless crime enforcement, like the insane War on Drugs, but this is a BIG step in the right direction.
I’m glad to live in a place where law enforcement acts more human, more often, than anywhere else I’ve ever been. You’ve got Rick Van Wickler, Cheshire County’s jail superintendent who is also a longtime speaker at Law Enforcement Action Partnership, a compassionate group of mostly former police which you may remember as being previously called, “Law Enforcement Against Prohibition” until they expanded their mission to include other issues where police reform is badly needed, Van Wickler has been a constant presence in Concord at state house hearings about drug legalization, speaking strongly in favor of any efforts to end prohibition in New Hampshire. He also runs his jail much more compassionately than the supermajority of the others in the United States. Add to that, a relatively calm and approachable group of Keene police, and now this excellent news from Sheriff Rivera.
Thank you, Eli. You’ve earned my vote in the next election. The land known as Cheshire county in the Shire should be a sanctuary for all peaceful people. Your immigration policy helps us get closer to that ideal. Next step, NH seceding from the United States! Viva New Hampshire!