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…)

4 Years of Victimless Crime Spree

I could technically still be in jail today for the “crimes” from the movie.

Derrick J’s Victimless Crime Spree, a full-length feature documentary about my five arrests in Keene, New Hampshire, unleashed itself to the world in Keene Cinemas four years ago today. It’s been viewed on YouTube over 175,000 times.

The world has changed since then. Recording law enforcers is now commonplace. Enforcers in a dozen more states now leave peaceful pot smokers alone. The top series on Netflix is a show about prison overpopulation. Everyone knows that the people calling themselves “the government” spy on their computers, emails, phone calls, and texts, but digital privacy is now possible for all thanks to new apps and devices with built-in encryption. Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are now beginning to come into wide use.

There’s a lot of reason to be hopeful. Now more than ever, the world is ready for you to question your obedience. Dozens have told me the movie inspired them to move to New Hampshire. That’s the most rewarding part of the experience. In the end, I was facing 9 years if convicted of all charges (none involving a victim). I was sentenced to 540 days in jail, and I ended up serving 60 for my “crime spree.”

Friends made it possible: Ian Freeman (producer), Beau Davis (editor), and the people of the Shire Society who inspire action. I hope Victimless Crime Spree inspires you to achieve more freedom, peace, happiness, and the object of your dreams.

“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.

21st Century Security is Peer-to-Peer

I keep one in my car and one on my keychain. In an emergency, like being pulled over or witnessing an arrest, I press it and dozens of first responders are alerted. They instantly know my emergency and location.

This is 21st-Century security. With beauty and simplicity that seems inspired by Apple, the Cell 411 Panic Button might be better-named “the Relax Button.” Finally I can relax knowing that in an emergency, I don’t need ten types of hand-eye coordination to alert first responders. One press of a button is all it takes.

cell-411-panic-button

My friend Link posted about it to Facebook:

“One of the coolest features is that it’s drop sensitive. Do you know how many thousands of people pay for subscriptions to emergency button services so someone will come help them up when they fall down? And now they can have that functionality for free in a way that calls people they know and trust who won’t automatically take them to the ER and drive up medical costs just to cover their asses!”

The buttons can be purchased for $25 each, and they come with accessories for easy every-day carry. Here is how the retailer describes the device:

The Cell 411 Panic Button connects to your Cell 411 application running on Android or iOS smartphone wirelessly over Bluetooth, providing users with a quick and easy way to alert your friends, neighbors, caregivers and loved ones in the event of an emergency. It can be carried in your pocket or bag or worn on the wrist or around the neck with the available accessories.
After pressing the Cell 411 panic button, an emergency alert will be sent out to the chosen cell or group of friends you configured. Your GPS location will be sent to your Cell 411 friends in real time, so they can come and assist you with turn by turn direction.

EXCLUSIVE: Former NH Cop Becomes Speaker for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition!

Joe Lachance

Former Bedford Cop Joins LEAP as a Speaker!

The excellent group of mostly retired law enforcers who now fight against the “War on Drugs” known as LEAP (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition) has added another former New Hampshire cop to their speakers bureau! Joseph Lachance is a former police officer in Bedford, NH with a decade of experience under his belt. Now he serves as a state representative from Manchester who received a “B” rating from the New Hampshire Liberty Alliance in their 2016 rankings.

Lachance recently announced the big news privately to his friends via his facebook profile, which included photos of him in uniform from his days as a Bedford officer. Then, after a final confirmation from the LEAP board late last week, he authorized Free Keene to break the news. He will have his first speaking engagement at the upcoming NH Hempfest and Freedom Rally happening at Rogers Campground August 25th through 28th.

When he started his career in law enforcement, Lachance was totally brainwashed into believing in prohibition. It didn’t take him long to realize that arresting drug users was only making their lives worse. In an email Lachance told me he, “saw first-hand how the war on drugs is a failure…Arresting someone for a small amount of cannabis or controlled substance only adds to the problem. The war on drugs encourages the cartels to make a black market for banned substances and creates a huge profit motive for the underground.”

Rick Naya, NH Hempfest Organizer and Joe Lachance

Rick Naya, NH Hempfest Organizer and Joe Lachance

Lachance isn’t the first speaker that LEAP has had in New Hampshire. Cheshire county jail superintendent Rick Van Wickler has been speaking against prohibition for many years now. There are other LEAP speakers who are former cops from Concord and Durham as well. The more, the merrier! More police coming out of the closet against prohibition means we’re getting closer to ending the insane “War on Drugs”, which is really just a war against our friends and family.

Lachance gets why prohibition doesn’t work. He points out, “Drug violence isn’t a reason to fight the war on drugs…it is a reason to END the war on drugs. Take away the cartels’ main source of revenue and they too will go away, much like in the 1920s with Al Capone.”

Congratulations, Joe!

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