KPD Officers Tim Richmond and Jake Laporte, just following orders.
For a dozen weeks, Keene police have ignored the weekly “Nightcap” events that have happened in Central Square, Fridays starting at 11:59pm. I had no reason to continue writing about the events here because they were a success – peaceful people having a quiet party in the Common, unmolested by state aggression.
Until this weekend, when the Keene police attacked in the form of ticketing everyone’s car parked around Central Square. This, while nationwide protests are calling for the defunding or outright abolition of police. In fact, just a dozen or so hours after the police targeted and littered their threats on the cars around the Square, it was filled on Saturday afternoon with hundreds of people protesting the police. Though Keene police’s chief showed up with a sign at the previous Keene Black Lives Matter event and pretended to care, it’s clearly business-as-usual for their agents on the street.
While the nationwide protests are rightfully focusing on the most egregious police abuses like the murder-by-cop or rape-by-cop, a major reason why any goodwill the cops might have had has been whittled away over decades, is their constant harassment and targeting of peaceful people for non-violent, victimless “crimes”. That’s exactly what they did on Friday night, when in search of revenue and obedience, officers Tim Richmond and new guy Jake Laporte showed up at our peaceful party.
When I noticed they had stopped in the street in front of a parked car, I walked over to see what was going on and Jake said something about enforcing a night time parking ordinance. I was not recording the scene just yet and I told him that he could go away and go find something else to do. He made a comment about just doing his job and got back into his police crusier where Tim was in the passenger seat. At that point, though there was still some hope he’d do the right thing and leave, I readied my phone to record video of the scene. Sadly he and Tim got out and began littering on the parked cars around the square.
Later the uniformed monopolists on violence claim they were ordered to enforce some “night time parking” city ordinance that allegedly prohibits parking from 2-6am in the “business district”, which they claimed was Main Street and Central Square. Then, on their last stop around the Square, Leigh, who was visiting from Manchester had gotten into his van right before they rolled up behind him. Because he didn’t leave quick enough, despite being in the process of leaving, the officers pulled up to block him from leaving at all and issued their final $15 ticket before leaving the area. Here’s the video:
Stay tuned to Free Keene to see what we do with the multiple tickets issued.
Massive crowd watching speakers at BLM event in Keene.
Finally, average people are showing concern for police violence! It only took thousands of innocent bodies piled up over many years and countless millions of peaceful people arrested for victimless crimes before enough people got mad enough to do something. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re probably aware of the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis cops who brazenly choked him to death for several minutes while being recorded on video as Floyd tried to plead with the gang of killers and alert them that he could not breathe.
However, what happened to Floyd was the spark that lit a flame – literally, with large numbers of people coming out from their homes to join in protests demanding police accountability and railing against police violence, which is used more often against blacks, but affects all of the human race. The protestors even torched the Minneapolis third precinct station after police abandoned the property after days of protests outside, which was an amazing victory and was refreshing to see the people’s understandable anger targeted where it was actually deserved.
KPD’s Cristina Paterno and Cheshire Sheriff Eli Rivera hear you, but will they listen and change?
Sadly, some protests have also been sullied by violence committed against people and the destruction of private property in many cities. The destruction of innocent-owned private property has been significant and tragic. However, New Hampshire has thankfully avoided these losses, likely because people here are much more free to defend their property from attackers, with weapons if necessary. The people who are targeting private property are unwelcome among the peaceful protestors and are likely a mix of police acting as agents-provocateur and opportunists who are looking to destroy and/or steal.
Today in Keene, several hundred people gathered in Central Square at 4pm today for a Black Lives Matter protest that rivaled the BLM event from Manchester, NH on Saturday. After nearly fifteen years in Keene, I’ve never seen anything this big in Central Square, ever. Today’s event was probably 4-5 times larger than the biggest 420 rallies in Central Square more than a decade ago.
Large crowd in Keene kneels, fist up.
The honking from drivers was nearly non-stop including multiple large trucks and tractor trailers laying on their horns to cheers from the excited crowd. Keene’s police chief Steven Russo and Cheshire County’s sheriff Eli Rivera were both present in the heart of the park holding signs saying, “We hear you” and taking pictures with people. To their credit, this was a smart move. By physically joining the protestors, the police acting like humans can diffuse anger and deescalate tensions. However, talk is cheap, and “hearing” isn’t the same as “listening”, and it’s certainly not actually changing their behavior.
Will the Keene police stop arresting peaceful people for victimless crimes? It’s the insane war on drugs and other prohibitions that have resulted in people of all shapes and sizes and colors being attacked, imprisoned, and murdered by police nationwide for decades. Keene’s police have made a myriad of drug busts and assisted the DEA in raiding a popular local head shop on Main Street several years ago. A stroll through past posts here at Keene Cop Block shows just a fraction of the lives the local police have ruined in the name of their authoritarian prohibitions. Are they going to now see how they harmed their brothers and sisters, issue an apology, change their ways and send back the BEARCAT armored tank to its manufacturer?
I sure hope so, for their sake, but then again, I’m an optimist.
I had the pleasure this week of seeing James Carroll of Flex Your Rights give a presentation to a couple dozen students at Keene State College. He covered various aspects of how to handle encounters with police and encouraged not taking a plea deal and going to trial rather than just paying fines.
I found it really rewarding to see James’ presentation. It was informative and relevant to the students watching it and I’m glad I had the night off to be able to record it so others who couldn’t attend can benefit. When James started college in Keene, he wasn’t an activist. Now he’s working with one of the most prominent know-your-rights groups in the world, Flex Your Rights. His path to where he is would not have been possible without his time in Keene and the liberty activism here that had a positive, inspirational impact on his life. What an honor to have had a role in that.
Some people don’t understand why I do the activism that I do. Why take risks by standing up for your rights? Why speak out in favor of peace and liberty? Why do activism that could and does offend? Because as an activist and communicator of the ideas of liberty, you never know whose life you’ll touch. When you stay true to yourself, put your message out there, and stand up for yours and others’ rights, the right people will see it and pay attention. When the student is ready, the master appears. Your actions just might be the spark that ignites the next James Carroll.
Welcome (back) to Keene, KSC students! Many of you returning are already aware of Keene Cop Block. For those who are new, we’ve been and will continue to be out in the streets near the college, generally on Friday and Saturday nights. As usual, we’ll be recording police harassment of peaceful people and will be handing out plenty of know-your-rights cards.
Plus, we may have a K9 unit, Jazzy Girl with us, so please stop and pet her – she loves people.
Last night after my Blogtalk Radio show, Voluntaryism Volunteers, I traveled to the local 24 hour convenience store in Peterborough, NH, which is the town I live in. While chitchatting with the clerk, a man came into the store. He looked quite frazzled and sunburned. The clerk and I were talking, when the man stated vociferously that he hated New Hampshire and was moving back to Ocala, Fl. I commented that I had just moved to NH from Tampa, Fl. He then proceeded to relate the following story:
Earlier that night, he was traveling home from work, he works at a farm. He had just worked 14 hours straight, he was tired and sunburned. He swerved a bit on the road and aPeterboroughpolice officer pulled him over. The officer accused him of using drugs and the man told him that he was just tired and hungry from working so long. The man then told the officer that he had an unloaded gun locked in his glove compartment. The officer then harangued him about the gun, telling him he needed a permit to have the gun. The man stated that he did, in fact, have a conceal carry permit issued inFlorida. The officer kept harassing the man over the gun. The officer then ordered the man out of his car and then proceeded to tear it apart with the consent of the man. He was released without further detainment or arrest.
After I heard the man say he consented to the search because “I had nothing to hide”, I recoiled and told him that he should never, ever consent without knowing his rights. I then told him about knowing your rights and to google knowing your rights. I had a brain-dead moment and should have told him about www.flexyourrights.org! (Thanks to Julia for helping me with remembering this site!) He stated nonchalantly that he would think about it. I told him that he should learn this for himself and then pass it on to everyone he knows. He shrugged and said he would think about it.
On another note, Sunday evening after PorcFest, I gave a potential mover a tour ofPeterborough. He and I discussed the police inPeterborough. He stated that he heard glowing remarks about my fair city’s police department. I have never, in the little over 4 months that I have lived there, had any run-ins or even interactions with the police. I mainly see them at night and at festivals. I have only seen the police at traffic accidents, not one pull over yet, in Peterborough, at least.
Dublin police are another story altogether! Yesterday on my way home, I was talking to my mom on my cell phone. I had my speaker ear buds in and was holding my phone in one hand. As I passed the rotary in the heart of Dublin(which is an uber tiny town), a police officer noticed me and jumped in behind the car directly behind me. The officer then proceeded to follow me to the Peterborough town line, where he slinked back to his lair! LOL! I have noticed over the last few months, that, outside of Keene, I see the most cops in Dublin, NH. It seems this tiny town needs a lot of revenue to support it.
Yesterday on my way home from work, I saw a sticker on the back of a green minivan that stated: Proud Parent of a Soldier. As I drove behind this vehicle for several miles, I wondered if this parent actually understood just what message he or she was sending. My mind kept seeing dead Afghani, Iraqi, Pakistani, etc…men, women and children lying dead in the streets and in hospitals. My mind also went to the pictures of American soldiers gleefully urinating on dead Afghanis, the horrid Wikileaks video of the helicopter crew excitedly gunning down men, the torture and sexual abuse of Abu Ghraib, the burning of Korans. I know that I am not the only one who interprets nationalistic messages this way.
However, let me be clear. I once was a member of the US military and I once interpreted these nationalistic messages with visions of the American flag, the bald eagle, Stars & Stripes, the pledge of allegiance, and the list goes on and on! I would hear the national anthem and tears would come to my eyes. What glorious difference enlightenment brings!
After realizing I was just a dupe and a guinea pig to the sick, power hungry politicians, my viewpoint changed dramatically. I see how nationalistic tendencies destroy people and families, hell, the entire social system; and not just “American” people and families. The sole purpose of the military should be to protect the people, not to engage in endless wars for profit and population control, i.e. defense, not offense. I hope that more and more people start to see the way I do now, not like I used to.
As I write this, we are only one week away from the ultimate in nationalistic holidays (at least for the US), “Independence Day” aka the 4th of July. This is a day to indulge in the orgiastic displays of flags and stars and stripes, of fireworks, hot dogs, apple pie. Parents will put American flag shirts on themselves and their kids. Parties with grilled hamburgers and hot dogs will be had poolside in much of theUS. And on this “independence day” I will be thinking of Bradley Manning, the innocent dead civilians of the hundreds of wars fought throughout time, and true freedom from government oppression.
Do mankind a favor and disassociate yourself from the indoctrination of nationalism and join me for Anarchy Day! See Kal Molinet’s site: www.liberateRVA.com he was my inspiration for this! Wear black and display signs of peace for one and all to see! I know there will be pushback, but keep your thoughts positive and love one and all, especially those that “hate” you! Peace and Love to All!