The following is Rich Paul’s letter to the Keene City Council, as recorded and transcribed by Derrick J Freeman:
When two groups of bullies attacked artists on consecutive days on The Common this month, the Keene City Government sent them a firm message: “Keep it up! We have your back.” How else can we interpret the facts?
In the first attack, four men, all of whom are employed by the Pour House or Pedraza’s, attacked my friend Andy from behind. I dropped my camera and phone, picked up the camera monopod, and drove three of them off. One Pour House employee was able to steal my camera and phone but serious violence was averted.
The City’s response was swift and sure: they arrested me two days later for being a felon in possession of a stick. They have not taken any action against the rioters and thieves. The video of this incident can be found on YouTube, and the thief, first name Terry, bragged of his theft (of the camera) on Twitter.
In the second incident, nobody was fast enough to protect the artist from serious harm, and therefore no arrests have been made. However, City Councilor Filiault is still willing to take the bold step of protecting violent thugs against offensive smiley faces and peace signs by outlawing sidewalk art. His message to bullies: “Hurt people, and we’ll give people what they want.” Perhaps a better solution would be to hold Dorrie O’Meara, who employs all 5 of the attackers, accountable for what her employees do while on the clock.
But then who would protect the bullies?