Keene Activist Held 2.5 Hours by VT Troopers

A FreeKeene supporter was pulled over on Wednesday afternoon around 5:20pm for a broken headlight. He was not released until nearly 8pm after the State police brought drug dog out, claimed it alerted on his vehicle, and searched every single thing in his car and on his person, including his shoes and socks. In the end, no drugs were ever found.

Andrew M refused consent to let troopers search his car. They waited 25 minutes for the canine unit to come and walk around it, and then the troopers claimed the dog alerted on the vehicle. Andrew was then given 2 options: Consent to a search, or the car would be taken in. Andrew chose the lesser of two major inconveniences and indicated he’d let the police search him and his car.

Nick Ryder, a FreeKeene blogger, and Chris Miranda, another FreeKeene supporter, arrived on scene with a camera. However, when the trooper wanted to begin his car search, he claimed he would seize the car if Chris and Nick did not leave, so the camera stayed behind in Andrew’s hands while Chris and Nick monitored the situation from afar.

Below is part 1 of the video taken from Wednesday night.

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  1. Is there any standard or rule regulating when they can do the drug dog charade? Obviously it's a massive loophole in whatever 4th Amendment expectations of privacy we have over the interior of our cars. They can always say, "Oh the dog smelled drugs" in cases where they don't like a person because of politics or race or whatever.

    My other comment is, that cop is the one who should STFU, because "probable cause" is a phrase from federal civil rights jurisprudence, i.e. Supreme Court search and seizure cases, and doesn't change depending on what state you're in. Dumbass.

  2. Hooray for Nick for pointing out (and documenting on tape) that he WAS being coereced and threatened, and that it wasn't a consent search.

  3. Wow, what a scary situation.

    I'd be scared s-less that they would plant something, either by scaring you guys into not recording, or by taking the car.

    I wonder if they were bluffing about towing the car.

  4. What was this officer's name? I would like to speak to him.

  5. Good to hear it was only a few hours of inconvenience and not jail or some stupid thing.

    Clearly a great use of police fishing for a bag of weed! Way to keep the world safe pigs!

  6. Vermont State Trooper Studin was the main guy. Others ran backup.

  7. It is a fairly standard procedure when you are stopped and for some reason they get 'suspicious'.They ask for 'permission' to look in the trunk,or elsewhere in the vehicle.If you ask why,they say that if you have nothing to hide,then you shouldn't mind.They coerce you into giving up your right to refuse self-incrimination.They also assume you are hiding something,and will keep you there until the dogs get there,or they get a judges order if they really want to.It can take hours.

    I have had this happen several times,I don't get confrontational,but don't make it easy.Listen to their radio and keep track of what is happening.Ask that they send for their superior.Make them work for it.I like to keep them waiting,then when the dog officer is on the way,I change my mind and let them look.I don't have any drugs in the car or truck anyway.I did have them do that wipe thing looking for traces of explosivers once,same as the airport.


  8. Your edit thingy isn't working right.

    It also helps if you don't act scared or get confrontational.It makes them a book or do paperwork.Comment on the weather.Ask about then new cruisers.You will see how nervous it makes them.Reverse the situation,but don't give them anything to get mad about.Remember this is about power and control.I have spent several hours stopped like this,I feel it is time worth while to exert my Constitutional rights.If you want to be an activist,be willing to spend the time. Of course,if you have 10 puonds of weed in the trunk,none of the above applies. —bil

  9. They can only hold you for a reasonable amount of time, usually 20 min. You should have let them take the car in. You would have had illegal seizure among other violations. Patience is the key. Don't complain. Assert your rights, if they violate them, let them. It will do more good in the long run

  10. Now that their dog has falsely alerted on your car it's no longer fit for duty. It is not reliable and probably alerts on every car.

    They just need to bring their dog that they have trained to alert and they get to search any car they want.

  11. I've seen the Barry Cooper NGB videos. If Andrew had a dog present in the car, there's no way the "alert" was accurate and correct. Either the dog handler didn't follow protocol or the protocol needs to be changed.

    My favorite quote, "It's not a threat, it's an alternative." Alternatives like "your money or your life" aren't alternatives.

  12. Well,they are,but not very good ones! —bil

  13. I didn't seem they they were actually going to tow the car. Maybe they were lying.

  14. Know your rights people!!!! Jeeze! If they seize your car – SUE. You should have allowed cameras and contacted the ACLU. I'm not quite understanding the point of activists repeatedly bending over and taking it up the pooper… WIN A FEW for a change.

  15. I agree Johnson.

    How will you be an activist, and give up when they put the pressure on. Be calm and cool with them. Do not offend them, and peacefully assert your rights. If they violate them, let them, it will work out in the end because people will see how unjust it is.

  16. Win a few?

    Perhaps you don't have perspective, because the video is just 6.5 minutes long. Andrew won when he refused a search, something that 99.5% of people will not do. He DID make it hard for them.

    Is a win to you having them come tow the car? If they found nothing, do they give Andrew's $100 back? You think a court would rule in favor of Andrew and not an experienced State Trooper?

    We got in and out with minimal damage, and now we will begin the process of filing complaints with the State Police.

  17. Right on, Nick.

    The armchair quarterbacking is not correct. You guys did what you could, and no more should be asked.

    High stress situation and bad options presented by armed tax-feeders.

    I like the idea of finding out the identity of the dog that falsely alerted for future disqualification. That is powerful.

  18. Johnson and Ray should come drive up and down this stretch of highway with a burnt out headlight and a car from the early nineties and then show us how its done.

    It can be tough making decisions on the spot and I think they did a pretty good job dealing with these thugs.

  19. On this canine:

    As the dog generated the cause for the search by "alerting" the officers; more information is necessary.

    How often has the dog been used in searches? How many were confirmed positives, with drugs found? How many without?

    This goes to finding out the "probability of cause" when they talk about "probable cause." If the dog is frequently wrong, then there is no probable cause.

    Otherwise, they have free reign to search on "improbable cause." (Hate the drug witch hunt for this human rights disaster.)

    A freedom of information act request to the state police is in order.

    You guys are right on track!

  20. scumbags, find a lawyer. make sure they didn't fuck up. sue the shit out of them

  21. Good job guys. It's video like this that hopefully inspires others to sacrifice their time in order to retain their rights.

    It's never convenient to do, but this is the sacrifice we make to advance the cause of liberty in our lifetime.

    I'm also glad to read you intend on filing a formal complaint. While it may not benefit you, it may have an impact for somebody else at another date.

  22. Aside from the "option" comment, which wasn't an option but blatant coercion (ie. If you don't consent, we seize and search later at our leasure,if you do consent, we don't have to seize and search later against your finances and time constraints, what's with the (paraphrased)"I'll be needing a copy of that later" reference to the video camera footage? That's private property and lawfully gained. If he or the owner of the camera doesn't consent, will the officer or the state he represents again give the "option" of either having the footage handed over, or the camera and footage seized… or even worse, possibly barred as evidence should this case go to court? These are not options, at all. It's tyranny, or the trappings of. That seems to be the only "option" in this scenario. I hope the trooper is severely reprimanded and is made to apologize. Better yet, to be fired, although I'm not holding my breath on that one.

  23. "what’s with the (paraphrased)”I’ll be needing a copy of that later” reference to the video camera footage?"

    Maybe it will be answered in part 2. And maybe it won't be as big a deal as creative editing made it sound.


  24. I've been had by the creative editing monster? đŸ™‚

    Hope so.

  25. I chose what seemed to be the lesser of 2 evils. I didn't want to miss work over this bs. I was also afraid they would plant something in the car if they stole it from me. They used the fact that I had to work against me TMI on my part I guess. In my opinion the dog did not alert them until they encouraged it to come back to the trunk. Once in the car, the dog only cared about the area where my dog was. Thanks for the kind words everyone.

    I'll be able to comment more on Saturday once I get my hands on a real computer.

  26. In addition, I went to the police barracks today to try and obtain the police report and video. Within the first minute of conversation, it was known who I was by an officer who had no relation to the "spectacle" last night, and I was basically stonewalled, and treated very rudely. All that was accomplished by that was them informing me that the cop has 10 days to file his report, and they wanted my phone number so he could contact me, which I wouldn't give.

  27. Why would the cop need a copy of the video unless there had been some kind of citation issued or arrest made? He must have been thinking of like mandatory disclosures under the discovery code. But if there's no arrest, charges, or case, the discovery code has no relevance to anything. Most cops are too dumb to understand the system or their role in it, so you see a lot of ad hoc "cop law" and prosecutor mimicry if you deal with these guys enough–that's probably what happened.

  28. I'd only add…. That I need to get my butt moving!!!

    Tired of this stuff, want to be involved. I've got a girl trying to tell me to stay, but she does not get it.

    We need to make a stand. We need to inform. We need to promote. The alternative all these people around us want is to wait until we have to use violence. I DON'T WANT THAT! We need to use public pressure and logic and common sense! I am in awe of you guys… Thanks for fighting for liberty with publicity! Your buddy, Jim from Redwood City, CA… Soon to move, for sure.

  29. oh wow, great job. I love the ending. Make them file paper work for it. LOL

  30. Too bad the driver consented. The search sounds illegal.

  31. His consent was based on a threat to tow his car and search it anyway. Coercion?

  32. I couldnt help but have some of these thoughts….call me paranoid, but its possible. Especially with coverage 420 events has had and the overwhelming need by LE to make drug busts.

    – How far were you from Keene and is there a chance that LE has discussed the freestaters across borders.

    – Do you drive readily recognizable cars? Any stickers or somthing unique so LE can recognize a free stater vehicle?

    – How much contact has the vehicles registered owner had with LE and would that data be shared with surrounding agencies.

    – In short, any chance members are being targeted, possibly followed and subject to harassment because of their cause? (and maybe a chance to make a plant or malt beverage bust)

    Wouldnt it be a hoot to prove that!

  33. About 15 miles to Keene,and of course they are in communication with each other.The local newspapers overlap areas.But wouldn't it be illegal for law enforcement to target a specific group because of its political beliefs?Or the bumper stickers on their cars?Would the ones that are supposed to safeguard the law actually pervert it for their own reasons??Damn right they would.It happens on every level.Not all of them,of course.You would be surprised at how many in law enforcement are fighting this crap.Anyone remember COINTELPRO?? —bil

  34. Oh yeah, they've got an excel spreadsheet stuffed full of free stater info in every police department and government bureau in New England. That's what I don't get. You're totally right about the nature of government, yet you seem to have no concern about announcing your affiliation with a "strike the root" type movement. I think if you guys had any idea how evil the adversary is, and how dangerous the "conspiracy" laws are, you'd forgo confrontational nonviolent protesting asap. The only reason it worked in the civil rights era was cuz the feds were on the protesters side, against the states. You guys have no allies. That's crazy.

  35. alright meow heres the deal, you can either give us consent to search the vehicle right meow, or we can tow the vehicle right meow and get a warrant.

  36. "Andrew M refused consent to let troopers search his car. They waited 25 minutes for the canine unit to come and walk around it, and then the troopers claimed the dog alerted on the vehicle. Andrew was then given 2 options: Consent to a search, or the car would be taken in. Andrew chose the lesser of two major inconveniences and indicated he’d let the police search him and his car"

    Isn't the dog's signal "probable cause"? Why would they then need to have your permission to search the vehicle? Isn't that them lying to you and extorting your permission under false premises?

    You should NEVER submit to a search.

  37. Anonymous,

    I think that the alert by the pooch must have been "probable cause," at least in the eyes of the trooper, or at least he would claim such.

    The question really is, when the dog "alerts," what is the probability that the cause is "probable cause?"

    This is to say, how many times does the dog alert on people "without probable cause?"

    If this happens enough, then the "probability of cause" is not "probable" and there is no "probable cause."


    It comes to "reasonable suspicion."

    As this was indeed the cause of the search (they will claim that it was done with permission of the owner, I am willing to guarantee), it is reasonable to request the data on the particular dog used and how often he is wrong, because he clearly WAS wrong this time.

  38. <blockquote cite="bil">
    But wouldn’t it be illegal for law enforcement to target a specific group because of its political beliefs?

    i recently posted about this. yes, they have been targeting 'free staters'. i overheard a sheriff discussing how he 'caught another one' with a keene district court bailiff. i wouldn't be surprised if (at least the keene area local cops) have scoreboards with their 'free stater arrest tally' on them.

    also, during brad's hearing, someone brought up that he was 'involved with anti-government groups'. i can only assume this comment came from his posts on the free keene forums, and 'anti-government groups' are investigated as terrorists groups now. so… i wouldn't be surprised if a lot of these detentions are just used to gather more information on our "group" (too bad for them: a) we are just individual people, and b) we aren't dangerous).

  39. But Brad was involved with anti-government groups: He was with the Epping Police Department, wasn't he?

  40. <blockquote cite="">Isn’t the dog’s signal “probable cause”? Why would they then need to have your permission to search the vehicle? Isn’t that them lying to you and extorting your permission under false premises?

    This attorney says:


    * Even after the dog arrives, cops still try to obtain consent because they think that they can more easily avoid suppression of evidence motions that expose the cop's lies, expose the dog's worthlessness, destroy the dog's future credibility, forcing the dog to be retired, and a new worthless dog to replace it (until that dog is exposed). With the dog at the scene, cops will repeat statements such as "You should consent to search, because the dog is going to scratch up your car" which is an actual threat of property damage made to induce consent, and it is also an indication of a badly trained drug dog (if it is true) and a bad handler.

    * If a dog alerts and nothing is found, then cops will never record that as an error. If cross-examined later, they will testify that the dog detected lingering odors of contraband that were recently present. Cops will testify that dogs never make mistakes, never have and never will, and that apparent errors are skillful detections of lingering (residual) odors of contraband. No one can question a dog about whether the cop is lying or mistaken, and it is usually a waste of time to ask a cop the same types of questions.


    How eerily correct he is. Although the officer in Andrew's case did not say the dog would scratch the car, he did essentially coerce via threat to tow the car. And although I'm not sure dog errors are never reported, it does make sense as to why they didn't just do the search first without asking for consent again.

  41. Paulo!

    You are the man!

    That is some good information and an excellent site. I hope that everyone bookmarks this and studies it, as well.


  42. What do you suppose the cops might say if the driver were to pull the home phone number of a local attorney out of his wallet, give the attorney a call and ask that he be present at the sight while the non consent search takes place.There should be no objections from the cops that the driver seeks legal council before allowing any search. Because of these types of situations everyone should carry the phone numbers of two attorneys in their wallet for just such an occasion.

    An attorney who is willing to come to the sight will have first hand experience as to whats taking place.

  43. I wonder if there are any attorneys who would be willing to give advice in this comment section as to how to handle a situation like this one? Would an attorney advise to reject a consent even if the car were towed?

  44. They never threatened to scratch my car, they just had the dog go ahead and do it.

  45. We also told the cops that Nick was my legal council, and as you can see in the video, I was told that if Nick stayed they would take the car.

  46. Well, having a real attorney may have had a different outcome. Cops get away with a lot of things and then one day the right attorney tears into their a$$ hole and they get taught a thing or two. A good attorney may have been able to get a court order to stop the search since it was bogus.

  47. Its just a matter of finding one who would be willing to do this for me on a contingency basis.

  48. I would agree. It's hard to find a good Libertarian attorney who wants to take a chunk out of the a$$es of a few corrupt cops. But, they do exist and the internet is your greatest tool for finding one.

  49. In Vermont, even when probable cause exists, a search can only be done if there is a search warrant or if the owner consents to the search. Some other states allow warrantless searches based on probable cause, but Vermont does not.

  50. Can you site this particular law?

Care to comment?