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.
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!
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.
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.
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…)
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.
Manch Cops Unnecessarily Intimidate Innocent People in Search for Suspect
Manchester has recently been the site of some major police state tactics including lockdowns and checkpoints. Tonight beginning at 6:00pm, Manchester-area activists and Cop Blockers will be holding a press conference at 6:30pm, then various members of the West Manchester community will be testifying to the city council about their experience in the recent police state activity. Here’s the full event announcement from Foundation for NH Independence president Carla Gericke:
Is the Manchester Police Department on the Warpath?
Concerned Manchester residents will gather at City Hall Plaza on Elm Street at 6PM on Tuesday, June 7th, 2016, to discuss the increasing use of military-style occupation tactics and deployment of military-grade equipment on the streets of Manchester, NH.
MPD Police Chief Nick Willard says, “crime is down 20 percent in Manchester,” yet in the past 3 weeks:
8 Manchester schools have been placed under lockdown;
MPD has deployed its SWAT team and armored BEARCAT at least twice;
One home was tear-gassed;
At least 3 helicopters clamored over the city for hours after an entire neighborhood of 30,000 people was placed on lockdown with a shelter-in-place order for more than 5 hours after the suspect had been apprehended.
In Manchester, a city with a population of 110,000 that often ranks highly in affordability and livability, the past few weeks have seemed like a war zone. (more…)
Manch Cops Unnecessarily Intimidate Innocent People in Search for Suspect
Late last night, a police manhunt began for a suspect who allegedly shot two Manchester police officers. Even after the man was found, police set up checkpoints, pointed guns at innocent motorists, and searched vehicles. Manchester liberty activist Carla Gericke posted this rundown to her facebook today:
This morning my Manchester neighborhood was locked down with a “shelter in place” warning as armed law enforcement officers roamed the streets, purportedly in search for a white man with long hair in a trench coat who shot two officers around 2AM. Both officers are in non-critical condition. One was shot in the calf, haven’t seen any reports about the other wound yet. I wish them a speedy recovery.
Helicopters whirred overhead for hours. Cars were searched. Schools were closed. Blocks were closed down. There were reports that houses were being searched. I contacted my attorney to understand my 4th amendment rights should I be approached to have my house searched. I put my dog in her crate downstairs as a precautionary measure to ensure she didn’t get shot if I refused unconstitutional entry to my home.
But here’s what I want to know. According to this NH1 report, the suspect was taken into custody at 6:55AM.
MORE THAN THREE HOURS BEFORE the “shelter in place” was lifted around 10:15AM (although I still had a helicopter overhead about 30 minutes ago).
WHY? What was the purpose of having a show of force with armed men roaming the streets IF THEY ALREADY HAD THE SUSPECT IN CUSTODY?
The only conclusion I can come to is they wanted to be on the streets. They wanted to scare ordinary people. Maybe they wanted to remind us of their militarized equipment, their BEARCAT, their guns.
Maybe they wanted people to forget about the beat down their compatriots gave a man a few days ago who was lying face down on a street with his arms outstretched?
A full inquiry should take place to explain to residents of the West Side why OUR lives should have been disrupted like this if we still live in a free and normal society. Please explain Mayor Ted Gatsas why this happened. It is unacceptable to treat ordinary law abiding citizens like pawns in these police state games.
Stephanie, who has become the face of the Free UBER movement, has now racked up six tickets for at least $5,000 seven tickets totaling $7,500 that she is taking to court soon with the help of an UBER-supplied attorney. All of this for helping people avoid getting DUIs.
She’s now not the only one. At least one other Portsmouth UBER driver reports receiving a ticket already this weekend and Saturday night is just getting started as I’m writing this.
Though Stephanie did not join UBER to become a civil disobedience superstar, she appears to have embraced her role and has even taken to task the four cowardly UBER drivers in Portsmouth who have obediently jumped through the city’s hoops and registered like good little slaves. She wrote today in a post to the Free UBER page on facebook:
Why is it that 4 uber drivers have registered with the town of Portsmouth? Don’t you know what this is doing? Every time I’ve been pulled over, part of the statement from the officers has been why don’t you just go on and register…. 4 others already have. I have stuck my neck out for all Uber drivers in the Portsmouth area. I feel that you four have stabbed me in the back. You’re free to do what you want to do but I take offense to you
registering. I can call you something but I’m not. Just remember the next time you see me pulled over with the blue lights flashing I am taking one for all of us even you.
Just to let you other Uber drivers know, they are going to be pulling over Uber drivers tonight. I will be there anyway.