Criminal Gang, “DEA” Robs Local Smoke Shop in Broad Daylight
Back in May, as part of nationwide raids, the DEA raided popular local Main St. smoke shop, Phat Stuff. Liberty activists were on-scene to document and copblock. The dozen-or-so agents loaded up a large U-haul and carted way nearly every smoking device in the store, easily $100,000 in inventory.
The ostensible reason for the raid was a crackdown on synthetic drugs, which the store had not stocked for months. Some observers of the situation believed that the DEA would actually give back the pipes. Those people are obviously new to observing this thuggery. The Keene Sentinel has an update on the case. Guess what? The DEA is seeing “forfeiture” (legal stealing) of all of the seized inventory.
The article reveals that the DEA jacked (in addition to the inventory), $15,000 from Phat Stuff owner Panos Eliopoulos’ bank account, nearly $700 from the store’s cash register, and stole his 2011 Ford F-250. As expected, no charged have been filed against any human beings. Only the inventory appears to be at risk here. Typical DEA robbery – they take your stuff, like a criminal gang, and there’s nearly nothing you can do. Does the owner want to spend $50,000 on attorneys to try to get $100,000 worth of inventory back, with no guarantee of success?
A probable cause hearing was held yesterday in Keene district court in the case of State v James M. Phillips. Phillips stands accused of causing the hospitalization of Matthew “Yankee” Oldershaw after allegedly shoving or tackling him into the jagged granite which comprises the fountain in Central Square. During the hearing, sole witness Benjamin Nugent presented verbal accounts of his interactions with witnesses and analysis of video from the scene, including the only footage which partially captures the assault, as filmed by the currently incarcerated Free Keene blogger Rich Paul. Information presented which would normally be discounted as hearsay was admissible as Nugent recalled the statements of others collected over the course of his investigation into the incident. A public defender cross examined Nugent after direct examination from KPD prosecutor Jean Kilham.
A copy of the paperwork from the case reveals the bail conditions attached to the single charge of 2nd degree assault from the June 03 incident. An arrest warrant issued on July 11 was followed with instructions to not be present in Central Square, to have no contact with Matthew Oldershaw, and to refrain from the use of alcohol. A PR bail of $1000 was set on the day of the arrest.
Following yesterday’s hearing, judge Edward Burke found the state’s evidence sufficient to constitute probable cause for advancing the felony case to the superior court, where it will likely be heard before judge John Kissinger. Video from the hearing is available at Fr33manTVraw. Additional written coverage from the court by Martha Shanahan was published today in the Keene Sentinel.
In it, he argues that government workers, including parking enforcers, have no right to be left alone:
Plaintiff’s assertion of a public employee right to be left alone has no legal basis, particularly as applied to political speech on public sidewalks, and does not trump the right of protestors to express their message at close range or from afar.
The demands of the “City” are so dangerous, Meyer argues it’s critical the court reject them: (more…)
The NH ACLU’s attorney, Anthony J. Galdieri argues that the city has no case when they claim Robin Hooders have engaged in “tortious interference”:
In the context of non-violent protests aimed at influencing societal or governmental change, tortious speech is only actionable if it amounts to violent or unlawful conduct. See Claiborne
Hardware Co., 458 U.S. at 917-18 (holding in context of protest that the state may impose
damages only for violent or unlawful conduct, not for non-violent protected activity, even if
that non-violent protected activity causes economic harm).
The NH ACLU also affirms that the city’s proposed restrictions on Robin Hooders are unconstitutional, including a “buffer zone” where speaking to the meter maids would be prohibited, as would be recording them. The proposed restrictions are clear violations of NH Constitution article 8 and 22, which protect the right of people to access a responsive government and protect free speech.
Nor should the city be allowed to handle the Robin Hooders through the courts, says the ACLU: (more…)