Hardcore NHExiters Face Rain, Cold at Masked Demonstration in Keene

NH Exit Demonstration 2016-10-22

Rain and cold didn’t keep these hardcore activists from coming out to support NH Exit!

Despite temperatures in the mid-forties and constant rain, over half-a-dozen supporters of New Hampshire independence showed up in Keene’s Central Square this afternoon to demonstrate in favor of secession!

The NH Exiters have been in the news multiple times since this summer’s historic “Brexit” vote, where voters in Great Britain voted to exit the European Union. Today’s event in Keene featured all-masked participants holding various secession-related signage.

One masked man took the event to a new level with a double flag display featuring the NH state flag on top of an upside-down United States flag. While one woman shouted at us something about “people died for you” out her window, the supermajority of responses to today’s demonstration were positive. We received plenty of honks, cheers, and waves and of course people in cars and on foot had to take pictures, including an amateur photographer from Chicago who was very excited to see people out supporting secession. (more…)

Final Robin Hood NH Supreme Court Hearing Set For November 9th

Robin Hood Chalk Art

Robin Hood Chalk Art in Downtown Keene

Keene’s Robin Hooders are heading back to the NH Supreme Court on November 9th at 9:30am for what should be the final round in a three-plus-year run through the courts.  Robin Hooders are the activists who have made international headlines for saving thousands of innocent motorists from parking tickets in the small city of Keene.

The city’s persecution of the peaceful activists has failed at nearly every legal turn. In its first visit to the NH Supreme Court, only one aspect of the city’s case was sent back to the superior court for review. The city gang then lost again at the superior court level and are now appealing that most recent decision to the Supreme Court.  (You can read both sides’ legal filings here.)

The NH Supreme court has already decided the allegations of “tortious interference”, “civil conspiracy”, “negligence”, and the demand for financial compensation were unfounded and the activities engaged in by the Robin Hooders are protected by the first amendment.

The appeal is for the NH Supreme court to look ONLY at the lower court’s ruling regarding the request for the “buffer zone” injunction.  The court will hear oral arguments from heroic free speech attorney Jon Meyer and the city’s expensive tax-paid private attorneys on 11/9 at 9;30am.  (The city’s attorneys are claiming they’re taking this case pro-bono, but that’s only after they charged the city likely over $100,000 for the first three court hearings.)

Here’s a Facebook event for the hearing – hope to see you there!

UBER Grandma Trial Date Moved Again, Facing $7,500 in Fines for Driving

UBER Grandma Driver Stephanie Franz

Civilly Disobedient UBER Driver Stephanie Franz, courtesy CBS Boston

It’s been almost a year since Stephanie Franz aka “UBER Grandma” was the first UBER driver cited for driving people safely to their destination in Portsmouth, NH. The city has been targeting brave UBER drivers with tickets for operating without government permission slips. In the Summer of 2015 the city gang declared UBER drivers who did not jump through the city’s hoops in addition to UBER’s background check and sign up process, would be targeted for ticketing.

The heroic grandmother has been ticketed multiple times in the last year and has racked up at least $7,500 in fines.  She’s also been targeted by local taxi drivers for harassment and vandalism of her car.

UBER has provided Stephanie with an attorney and she’s ready to face down the city gang in court. However, there have been multiple reschedulings of the date, so hopefully this is the final one: Please join UBER Grandma at Portsmouth District Court at 8am on December 13th (here’s a facebook event) and support her courageous stand for your freedom to drive people places without having to ask government permission!

Activists Hold Beer Pong Event – Cops Threaten Arrests, Then Back Down: VIDEO

Beer Pong Railroad Square

Beer Pong Protest, September 2016

As promised in a press release earlier this week, Keene liberty activists followed through on a promised Beer Pong event in Railroad Square. Held Saturday at noon, the event was intended to call attention to the oppressive open container ordinance here in Keene. Event organizer Bob Call was interviewed by reporters from the Keene Sentinel and Union Leader and explained how the ordinance targets college students and poor people and doesn’t do anything to actually keep drunk people off the streets.

The open container ban does however transfer a lot of wealth to the state from the victims of the police’s aggression. Enforcing open container means big money for the government, and as event co-organizer Chris Waid points out, it also protects restaurants and bars, giving them the exclusive ability to allow someone to enjoy alcohol on the sidewalk. That means the law is discriminatory in that if you can’t afford to pay for a drink at restaurant/bar prices, you can’t enjoy a drink outside in downtown Keene.

Here’s a video covering the over an hour that we were there (police lied to the Union Leader claiming we were only there for 30 mins):

Yesterday’s protest went well and no one was arrested despite the police threatening everyone playing beer pong with arrest. They cited a city ordinance that arguably does not even apply to Railroad Square, claiming playing games involving throwing a ball are prohibited in the area! Either they were bluffing or they didn’t actually read the ordinance, which specifically states that throwing games are banned from Central Square and “on the streets and sidewalks of the downtown area”. I supposed someone could argue that Railroad Square is a street or sidewalk, but there’s a strong argument it’s neither.

Beer Pong Cops

Officers Colin Zamore and Andrew Lippincott deliver threats to the beer pong activists.

Plus, the ordinance is clearly intended to address games that could cause interference in the normal traffic of business in the downtown area: “For the safety and protection of participants, pedestrians, passersby, motorists, and property, no person shall, unless authorized by permit, play games involving running, jumping, throwing, catching, or similar physical activity, including but not limited to games of ball”. Even if it could be argued that Railroad Square is a street or sidewalk, it’s pretty clear that no one’s safety is in jeopardy from a ping-pong ball. The ordinance was obviously crafted to stop frisbee and football players’ projectiles from flying into traffic around Central Square, as it specifically prohibits such activities from that area.

Perhaps that’s why Keene police officers Colin Zamore and Andrew Lippincott never returned after threatening the group with arrest if they continued playing after fifteen minutes had gone by. The activists continued to play for about thirty more minutes and then declared victory and went home. (more…)

Beer Pong Event Planned for Keene’s Railroad Square This Saturday!

Beer Pong Girls

Maybe it should be strip beer pong instead? Photo courtesy theCHIVE.

This Saturday, 9/17 at noon, activists will gather in Keene’s Railroad Square and play beer pong in protest of the open container ordinance. The event will be in the spirit of 2010’s Drinking Game, which resulted in my arrest in the city council chambers for “disorderly conduct”, but the charge later dropped. Inspired by the past actions, a new batch of movers to Keene will be taking up the banner of protesting the ridiculous ban on open containers of alcohol.

There are many towns and cities where open containers are allowed, including some right here in New Hampshire. Nearby Westmoreland, for instance, does not have an open container ordinance. The oppressive ordinance is just an excuse to target college students and poor people, give them tickets, and reap thousands of dollars into the system from the victims. It doesn’t stop drunk people from being on the streets, nor does it discourage them from drinking. The ordinance merely takes advantage of drunk people. It’s shameful and needs to be abolished.

I spoke with the beer pong event organizer, Bob Call, today about his motivations. He said, “I think the law is unjust and it’s ridiculous that you can sit outside at local businesses in Keene and consume alcoholic beverages legally, but not if you consume your own alcoholic beverage.”

Open Container Officer

Labeled containers are likely probable cause for a search. Don’t carry them around.

I’m no attorney, and this is not legal advice, but if you are ever targeted by police for a suspected open container of alcohol, DON’T CONSENT TO A SEARCH! This is the number-one mistake made by the police’s victims. Law enforcement officers are trained to intimidate. If you are walking with a drink in a bottle or cup that is not clearly an alcohol container, the officer will likely approach and say something like, “I have to ask you to hand that over.” At that point, most people will hand it over, consenting to a search of their container.

Take note of the careful wording of the officer’s statement. “Have to”, plus it being spoken in an authoritative manner makes is sound a lot like an order. However, it’s not. He says “ask”. If you’re ever uncertain about what an officer is saying, you have a right to ask, “Is that a request?” or whatever other questions you want. If you are clearly carrying am actual beer bottle, that’s likely enough probable cause for a search, and they won’t have to ask. On the other hand, if there is no clear way they could know by looking that it’s likely a container of alcohol, they have to get your consent to search. Don’t do consent. Politely decline their invitation, ask if you are free to go, and walk away.

See you Saturday 9/17 at noon at Railroad Square in downtown Keene for the beer pong event!

“Flex Your Rights” Presentation at Keene State College – Full Video

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.

After his presentation, I interviewed him about his formative experiences here in Keene and he cited Keene Cop Block, Free Keene TV, and Law Enforcement Against Prohibition speaker and jail superintendent Rick Van Wickler as influences in becoming the effective, full-time, professional activist he is today. Here’s his full presentation followed by that fifteen minute post-interview:

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.

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