Sentinel Reports on Police Exhausting their Resources Arresting the “Trespassive Twelve”

Thanks to the Keene Sentinel’s Phil Bantz for this story about how the KPD sent all their officers to the jail to arrest peaceful activists, all the while incidents were happening in Keene that they weren’t able to respond to. As expected, the comments are excoriating us for supporting NH Free Press publisher Russell Kanning. Kanning has been jailed for non-payment of child support, however according to a Ridley Report interview with Kat Kanning, Russell was sending what money he could to his ex-wife and she was apparently ok with that and was allowing him to interact with his kids. Unfortunately, the government people don’t care, since he wasn’t paying enough to satisfy THEM, they have locked him away indefinitely. Now how much will his kids receive?

Anyway, here’s the story from the Sentinel:

When a car collided with a college student walking in downtown Keene on Sunday evening, a Marlborough police detective had to investigate the incident while N.H. State Police troopers interviewed the victim.

On most evenings, Keene police officers would have handled the accident, which resulted in minor injuries. But they were busy processing a dozen people who were accused of trespassing at the new Cheshire County jail in Keene.

The arrestees – all were charged with trespassing and one was charged additionally with possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia – have ties to the Free State Project and one of its offshoot groups, Free Keene.

The Free State Project is an effort to persuade 20,000 people to move to New Hampshire and participate in activism or run for political office. Project members are particularly active in Keene.

The Free Keene website states that the “Trespassive Twelve” circled the jail building several times, attracting the attention of some inmates, and police. “No Trespassing” signs are posted on the property.

Ian “Freeman” Bernard, 29, a Keene resident who was among the protesters, said in a phone interview Tuesday that the group was rallying for N.H. Free Press publisher Russell Kanning. Kanning is jailed for nonpayment of child support.

Bernard added that he and the other protesters also wanted to “raise the spirits of other men and women in prison there.”

The gathering drew a rather large police response: the Keene Police Department sent an entire shift, four officers and a supervisor, to the jail. Marlborough police sent Detective Steven E. LaMears. Swanzey police sent an officer. The N.H. State Police sent two troopers. Finally, three corrections officers from the jail joined the group.

Additional state troopers were called to cover the city of Keene while city officers dealt with the protesters, who were eventually arrested, processed at the Keene Police Department and ordered to appear in court at a later date.

The protest consumed significant police resources, creating a ripple effect in some area towns with limited resources, LaMears said.

“These smaller towns require state police coverage, so who’s going to cover them?” he said.

While Keene police officers were processing the 12 arrestees at the police department, a 19-year-old college student, Brittney Frank, was crossing Main Street in Keene when a car hit her, LaMears said.

Because city police had their hands full booking the protesters, LaMears was called back to Keene to investigate the collision while state police troopers interviewed Frank at Cheshire Medical Center/Dartmouth-Hitchcock Keene, where she was treated for a leg injury.

The driver of the vehicle that hit Frank, Almut Yakovleff, 56, of Alstead, told LaMears was headed north on Main Street in her 1997 Honda Civic when the college student stepped in front of her car and entered a crosswalk, LaMears said.

It was nighttime, Frank was wearing dark clothing and Yakovleff said she didn’t see her until it was too late to stop the car, according to LaMears.

He has closed the crash investigation and will not be filing any charges or traffic citations against Yakovleff.

After he was done investigating the collision in Keene, LaMears tried to catch up on a logjam of other calls that were delayed while he was dealing with the situation at the jail, he said.

But before LaMears could make a dent in the backlog, he was sent to another call that ended in a drunken driving arrest that dragged on for six hours. The driver fell when she stepped out of her car and punctured her chin on a rock, LaMears said. He had to wait in the hospital until the woman was treated for her injuries and released.

LaMears said he spent most of his next shift chipping away at all the calls and cases he wasn’t able to address Sunday.

“It’s just a time delay,” he said. “You keep getting a backlog. This time it took a day to get out of that backlog.”

The ripple effect on police resources was an unintended consequence of the protest, Bernard said. And besides, the protesters should have been left alone, he said.

“There was no one being put in danger. There was no victim,” he said. “Even if the cops had to respond, they certainly didn’t have to send the entire squad out.”

The protesters who were arrested will likely request trials in a bid to clog the already-strained court system, Bernard said.

“I don’t expect anyone to take a plea,” he said.

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8 Comments

  1. This will only happen more, and more, and more, and more, and more and the system will grind to a halt.

    But, at least there is a nice jail!

  2. My comment on the article:

    There is more to the story of Russell Kanning. People would do well to look into issues as they arise, rather than just assuming that government actions are appropriate. Russell had reportedly agreed with his wife on lesser payments, and so she was allowing him to see his kids. The state was the one with the objection, not his wife, and the support had been set impossibly high.

    It's important for parents to take care of their kids, but there there are also often serious problems with the ways divorce are handled legally today.

    That said, even if you disagree with the reasons for the protest, people have a right to assemble, as long as they remain peaceful and don't harm anyone or anything. They were on public land, which they had been forced to pay for.

    Police have discretion. Police behavior in this instance was not only a gross violation of right to assembly and speech, but a gross waste of money.

    These people weren't harming anything or anyone. They should have been left alone, and time should have been spent stopping people who actually are harming others.

    I would like to applaud KPD for leaving the free Keene fest alone, however, which occurred earlier that same day. They exercised discretion admirably in that instance.

  3. Hah! What a bunch of jackasses. They just couldn't let people have their right to peaceably assemble could they?

    How long before real criminals start doing their crimes at the same time as we have protests?

  4. I didn't even know there was a protest. How interesting. Maybe the Keene Police Department leaders will make better choices in the future. Maybe they will stop arresting people that aren't breaking the law. Only time will tell.

  5. If you have had a police radio(didn't Ian Freeman set on up as an internet stream broadcast?) and you guys had set up an agorist security community. You could have gone their and investigated it all. Showing the people of Keene that there are alternatives to the violent monopoly solution.

    Creating the agorist competitors to the institutions that the state is using as tools of propaganda before the state grinds to a halt is a necessity so that the needs that people of Keene may have even as the state grinds to a halt can be supplied.

  6. I just had a vision of one (very) long American flag encircling the Keene Common, Keene PD HQ and then Cheshire County Jail…Watch as storm troopers defile the flag to supress patriots.

    -"States' Evidence #1: A 300 foot American Flag…"

    Off topic-A general Go fk Yerselves to the KPD on behalf of 2 families antagonised, stalked and berated until we were dead, in jail or left under duress…Granted, most of those officers/detectives have long since died, retired or been promoted. A pattern of heavy handed spite over 35 years is clear.

  7. My following comment is in response to the charge for protesters to grow-up found on the comments section of the Keene Sentinel article.

    — Senator Paine: … this is a man’s world Jeff, and you’ve got to check your ideals outside the door, like you do your rubbers. Thirty years ago I had your ideals. I was you. I had to make the same decision you were asked to make today. And I made it. I compromised.

    — Mr. Smith: Take a look at this country through her eyes if you really want to see something. And you won’t just see scenery; you’ll see the whole parade of what Man’s carved out for himself, after centuries of fighting. Fighting for something better than just jungle law, fighting so’s he can stand on his own two feet, free and decent, like he was created, no matter what his race, color, or creed. That’s what you’d see. There’s no place out there for graft, or greed, or lies, or compromise with human liberties. And, uh, if that’s what the grownups have done with this world that was given to them, then we’d better get those boys’ camps started fast and see what the kids can do.

    — Mr. Smith: I wouldn’t give you two cents for all your fancy rules if, behind them, they didn’t have a little bit of plain, ordinary, everyday kindness and a little looking out for the other fella, too.

    (The quotes are made on three separate occasions. There is no connection between them.)
    http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Mr._Smith_Goes_to_Washington

  8. As Russell's ex wife, I'd like to weigh in… I agreed with Russell that $400 mo would be fine, but then he stopped paying. And this, after years of non-payment at all. He has always had the recourse to have the amount re-adjusted, but for whatever his reasons are, won't do this. The past due amount is well over $150,000. But 10 yrs ago, he could have argued for a lesser amt based on a lower income. He would be wise to just pay regularly, and to re-negotiate the past due amount. What a shame for his current wife/family to be put through this, when, with a few negotiations, things would be drastically different.

Care to comment?