Over the last several days the video and story about Keene High’s “school resource officer” Joshua English attacking and tackling a student for allegedly vaping in the school’s bathroom, has gone viral. However, there’s more to the story than cop-attacks-teen, though this incident alone is bad enough. In case you haven’t heard about this incident, according to other students the young man who was viciously attacked by English was vaping in the bathroom and English confronted him. The student heroically refused to identify himself to the armed, intimidating, uniformed man and walked out of the bathroom. Moments later, English bursted out of the bathroom and tackled the peaceful student, subduing him with a shocking level of force.
Thankfully, another brave student pulled out their phone upon hearing a commotion from inside the bathroom and captured the entire tackling on video:
Understandably many are outraged at the officer’s use of force over a simple vaping incident, but that’s not really what caused English to fly into a violent rage. The young victim’s real crime was disobedience. The youth had the gall to act as though he were a free man, walking away from a threatening, potentially violent anti-nicotine nuisance and attempting to go about his day. English has his “authority” to worry about and can’t possibly be seen by others as someone who one could just walk away from without consequence, so he used violence to dominate the young man in front of a crowd of people.
Keene Police have been making headlines nationwide for proclaiming that English was fully within police guidelines for his use of force against the “subject” – yes, that’s actually how they refer to the rest of us non-gang members. Keene police chief Steve Russo exonerated English in a recent release, saying his agent had not violated any department guidelines or state statutes, but Russo said further that English was worried the young man was a potential trespasser, claiming to the Union Leader, “At that point, he didn’t even know he was a student”.
Keene Police Officer Joshua English
Perhaps English needs to have his memory tested. While it would certainly be hard to remember previously seeing one random male in a school with over one thousand students, how could English forget that he’d written the same young man a ticket for “possessing tobacco products” two weeks prior? The student’s father showed the proof of this claim to WHDH-TV in Boston.
While Keene Police are trying to make English look like a hero protecting the school from a potential intruder, the reality is much different. In KPD’s official release, they claim the Keene Police and the school district are, “committed to maintaining the safety and security of the students…which may regrettably include when necessary, the use of force to secure that safety.” There were no allegations the young victim was doing anything violent. He was allegedly vaping in the bathroom. No one was threatened by the young man. The only dangerous, violent threat in Keene High School that day was Keene Police’s Joshua English. Who is he?
Don’t expect the mainstream media to do a modicum of digging about English. Otherwise you might have already discovered English shot a man to death in Keene back in 2010. Free Keene blogger and former police officer Brad Jardis covered the story here when English was found to be within the state’s use-of-force guidelines in the shooting incident. In that case, the man who was shot by English was holding a knife to a woman’s throat, so our blogger Jardis agreed with the shooting as necessary. However, is it really the best decision to assign one of the only officers at KPD who has violently taken another human being’s life the duty of being the high school’s cop? (more…)
Man takes highly dangerous selfie in front of SWAT team – the mask was added later to protect his identity.
After resigning from his job at Eversource over being sexually harassed and going through a difficult breakup with his girlfriend, a local man was having a mental breakdown in early November inside his own home in Keene, New Hampshire. The man has asked to have his real name protected, so I will refer to him in this story as “NBR”. Running on very little sleep, stressed from losing his job and relationship, and dealing with an undiagnosed mental disorder, NBR was alone in his house and had been throwing his possessions out the window.
According to NBR, when his parents, who love their son dearly, heard about his behavior they were quite concerned for his safety and well-being. They called to have him involuntarily committed so he could get the help and treatment he desperately needed at the time. Or, so they thought.
Unfortunately, then Keene police showed up and took things from bad to worse by responding to the mentally ill man with every cop in the vicinity, plus state police. One neighbor reported counting at least eleven police cruisers on the scene. It was a huge show of force considering NBR has no history of violence, nor had he threatened anybody. In fact, NBR was not charged by the police on the night in question with any crimes whatsoever. The police took him into custody without incident and delivered him to the Cheshire Medical Center to begin his involuntary commitment. There was no legitimate reason for such a large police response.
There was also no reason for several armed men with at least one laser-sighted assault rifle and two full-body shields to break down his front door and terrorize NBR. Though he expressed to the officers that he just wanted to go to sleep, he told me he did not resist their arrest.
The video and photo he took during the break-in by Keene Police, who broke down his front door, is stunning, terrifying, and just sad. In the video, at least one laser-sighted assault rifle is pointed at NBR as police demand he put down the phone in his hand. He makes it clear he is recording, thankfully not being shot to death for holding his phone. People have been killed by police in other jurisdictions when police claimed they thought the phone was a gun. NBR even managed to take an intense picture of the event to share with the world to show how dangerous the police can be and how unnecessary their actions were.
Does anyone actually belive this level of force by the Keene Police Department was appropriate or justified in any way? While it was extremely risky, thankfully NBR recorded the situation so it could be shared with others. It is a terrifying view of the police state on display, in a completely and clearly excessive response to an all-too common situation. Police operating policies and procedures should be changed to prevent this from happening again in the future.
Mental illness is a weak point in the Non Aggression Principle, which is the principle that defines libertarianism. Clearly in a society with no coercive state, something would need to be done about someone who has lost their mind and has become a danger to himself or others, and that something will usually involve some level of aggression. However, an involuntary commitment process should not involve men with assault rifles, shields, and overwhelming force unless the person is actually putting people in danger. In this case, NBR was simply having a breakdown in his own home. He was not a danger to himself or others, he did not threaten others, and he did everything the officers ordered him to do without incident. (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…)
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.
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.”
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.
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”.