Cheshire Sheriff Destroys Self-Immolation Footage

ImmolationAs you probably know, about two weeks ago a man self-immolated in front of Cheshire superior court over his frustration with the “justice” system. The following day, I went to Cheshire sheriff and requested a copy of the footage from the security camera. I was told that it had been given to Keene Police. Apparently while this statement was true, they could have made another copy for me, but instead misdirected me to KPD. I then filed a “91-A” freedom of information request with KPD and was told after a few days that they had returned their copy to the sheriff. I then filed the same request with the sheriff and after a few days was told they had destroyed the copy. This morning I called the sheriff’s office and spoke with Arlene Crowell, the communications director, and she informed me that their security system only retains archives for seven days before writing over it. KPD’s James McLaughlin claims they did not copy the footage.

So, if they are all to be believed, no footage exists of Thomas James Ball immolating himself. If I am wrong and you do have footage, please email me at ian at

I suppose I should have filed the request at the sheriff’s office the following day instead of just asking them for it. I’ve never filed these requests before, so I’m sorry for failing. Of course, I probably would have just gotten the runaround anyway.

So much for Article 8 of the NH Constitution:

[Art.] 8. [Accountability of Magistrates and Officers; Public’s Right to Know.] All power residing originally in, and being derived from, the people, all the magistrates and officers of government are their substitutes and agents, and at all times accountable to them. Government, therefore, should be open, accessible, accountable and responsive. To that end, the public’s right of access to governmental proceedings and records shall not be unreasonably restricted.

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  1. So, ARE YOU saying, you like videos of burning people, Ian…? Is this a sexual thing?

  2. No, Resident Troll. He is saying that greater emotional impact would have been made if the world were to see this man dowse himself in gasoline and burning to death instead of just reading about it. It is disgusting how these people just painted over this mans death like nothing happened. I think they need to be reminded.

  3. …the "video was destroyed"…how convenient…..smells like cover-up, to me……..And yes, I do want to see the video. If Thomas Ball can fatally self-immolate, then the least I can do, is witness his demise….Later today, I'm getting a brand-new gas can, writing "NEXT?" on it in big letters, and carry it around downtown Keene….Where will Keene's next crispy critter appear???…wait & see….wait & see….Nice try, tho, Ian. If you *HAD* gotten a copy of Thamas Balls' self-immolation, you would post it here, right???…OHH! I KNOW! File a claim in Probate Court against his estate!…The County should have the tape, and be able to produce it. If they don't or can't, seems they owe some $$$….~tKoK.

  4. …did KPD say that they had destroyed "their copy", or "the copy"???….see the difference???…Isn't there at least *2* cameras???…There's one outside the building, looking down from the roof, and another camera *INSIDE* the building, looking out….Right???…isn't that *2* videos???…(There's a 3rd camera, inside the insurance office building across the street, but I'm not supposed to know that….and I can't say for sure that it's view includes *ALL* the Courthouse steps…hey, sometimes it does pay to talk to cops & security guards…)………~tKoK.

  5. Regardless, file a motion with Cheshire County Superior Court, asking for a copy of the tape for purposes of a Civil Rights lawsuit…It's called "Discovery"….I'd like to see how Arnold handles *THAT* request!…rotflmfao…..

  6. You folks watch too much "realityTV, to actually believe you lot are STARVING to see a man burn to death .

    And all to promote your cause. A man died, and all you want is people to watch a morbid video, so you can get DONATIONS.

    You sickies.

  7. Resident troll,

    Do you call state employed kidnappers, cagers and killers "sickies"?

    Or do you just call the people who want society to remember a man that was driven to burn himself alive to be, "sickies?"

    I think you'll call anyone who opposes state sponsored kidnapping caging and killing of peaceful people "sickies"

  8. I can just see it now.

    Ian beating off to the footage till his penis is sore and chafing and spraying his load into a "Don't Tread On Me" flag. Word of warning though: You can only get off on footage like that 6 or 7 times before it becomes stale and you move on to some other snuff stuff.

  9. In most communities, suicide is illegal. If that is the case in Keene, then the KPD destroyed crime scene evidence and should be held accountable.

  10. They just don't want to give out footage so shameful and politically embarrassing to them, especially not to Free Keeners.

    Hey, Hannah, Richard or another song writer should develop the song "Gavel With The Black Dress" (to the tune of "Devil With A Blue Dress")

  11. Does anyone know if suicide is illegal in NH or Keene?

  12. @Ian

    I do not believe that suicide has been outlawed in NH. There are policies when dealing with someone that's attempted suicide though, like court mandated counseling and welfare chekcs at the court appointed couselor's direction.

  13. Do you really think it's OK for Ball's family to find this video in circulation on the internet? Would you redefine aggression to exclude the mental harm you'd be doing to Ball's children when they saw their dad's suicide?

    Do the right thing.

  14. @Shepherd

    Yes, I am more concerned with the people who didn't commit suicide that are still here.That video will find its way into Ball's children's lives as surely as the black and white picture of the Buddhist monk found it's way to the top of this page. It will cause them harm. For what? So this site can get a few more hits? So estranged fathers everywhere can point to Ball and say "see what you do to men"? I'm not fighting your dad's rights battle here, I'm saying a mentally disturbed individual set himself on fire and some people think they should have the video. I don't.

    In fact, if someone did video his suicide and didn't try to stop him, they are soulless fucking monsters.

  15. I appreciate your attempt to access this footage Ian.

    Thomas Ball did not give in to the temptation to burn others. In the end he simple sacrificed himself. The least he deserves is for his act to not be ignored or forgotten.

    The tone in Ian’s voice when he made the call reporting this event convinces me that he find no “pleasure” in Thomas Ball’s death. The people in that court building actually get pleasure from the suffering they cause. I have witnessed it on more than one occasion.

  16. @Frenis,

    Yes I think it’s OK for Ball’s family to find this video in circulation on the internet. I don’t think it would be OK to force them to watch it, but to offer it up in case they wish to view it is fine. I am sure that if this was my father, at some point in my life I might want to watch it. But is your only point “but what about the children?!”? What do you mean by “Do the right thing”? Did the government do the right thing over the past 10 years when Ball wasn’t allowed to even see his children without supervision? Who’s hurting the children here? If the government took my father away from myself and my siblings I know who I would find the villain, and it wouldn’t be my father.

  17. good work Ian.
    They are not use to people holding them accountable.

  18. I guess I made a common assumption about suicide laws. Here is what Wikipedia has to say about the matter:

    “United StatesHistorically, various states listed the act of suicide as a felony, but these policies were sparsely enforced. In the late 1960s, eighteen U.S. states lacked laws against suicide.[8] By the late 1980s, thirty of the fifty states had no laws against suicide or suicide attempts but every state had laws declaring it to be felony to aid, advise or encourage another person to commit suicide.[9] By the early 1990s only two states still listed suicide as a crime, and these have since removed that classification.[citation needed] In some U.S. states, suicide is still considered an unwritten “common law crime,” as stated in Blackstone’s Commentaries. (So held the Virginia Supreme Court in Wackwitz v. Roy in 1992.) As a common law crime, suicide can bar recovery for the late suicidal person’s family in a lawsuit unless the suicidal person can be proven to have been “of unsound mind.” That is, the suicide must be proven to have been an involuntary act of the victim in order for the family to be awarded monetary damages by the court. This can occur when the family of the deceased sues the caregiver (perhaps a jail or hospital) for negligence in failing to provide appropriate care.[10] Some American legal scholars look at the issue as one of personal liberty. According to Nadine Strossen, former President of the ACLU, “The idea of government making determinations about how you end your life, forcing you…could be considered cruel and unusual punishment in certain circumstances, and Justice Stevens in a very interesting opinion in a right-to-die [case] raised the analogy.”[11]

    Either way, the KPD destroyed evidence. We only have their word that Mr. Ball self-immolated.

  19. Rationalize it however you want, wanting to watch a human burn is sick. Further proof that freehippies like Ian have no place in civilized society.

  20. @ng,

    Just because you have a tendency toward the most base and warped reason for accessing the video. Just because that is your bent does not mean it is every ones.

  21. If you had access to the video would you watch it David? And if so, why?

  22. "In fact, if someone did video his suicide and didn’t try to stop him, they are soulless fucking monsters."

    I'm glad we agree that the Cheshire County Sheriffs, who /did/ video the suicide and, by all accounts, made no attempt to stop him, are "soulless fucking monsters."

  23. Suicide is the coward's way out. Why would we want to watch a coward burn?

  24. Disgusted,

    Maybe if you had spent ten years being tortured and traumatized by the Family Court System, couldn't see your children, and were about to be caged for being jobless you would feel suicidal too or at least a bit of compassion for Mr. Ball.

  25. Compassion, yes. Sympathy no. Having been victimized by the system myself, I do have compassion for victims. Mr. Ball was victimized by the system. His children have now been victimized by him. I have no sympathy for him. I have sympathy AND compassion for his children. They have been victimized by both the system AND their suicidal coward of a "Father".

  26. Yeah, killing yourself in one of the most painful possible ways is "cowardly."

    I'm curious, how do you feel about those in the military who have received posthumous medals for taking "suicide missions" or diving on grenades or such? Perhaps you're consistent and will call them, "coward," too, but I'd give decent odds that you will claim that their suicides were somehow heroic. So, are you consistent, or a hypocrite?

  27. If suicide is a crime, then the sheriff destroyed evidence of a crime…

  28. Shark, Did these "Heroes" dive on the grenade for the purpose of defending the lives of others? If the answer is yes, I agree that their actions were heroic. Did they dive on the grenade, run into enemy fire or set themselves on fire because they gave up on life? If the answer to this question is yes, then I stand by my assessment of cowardice. Mr. Ball's death saved nobody. All he accomplished was to show his Children that he gave up fighting for them.

  29. So, basically, you're a hypocrite. Which is enough reason to dismiss your infantile opinions.

  30. Some say suicide is the "cowards' way out", but they usually mean a quick gunshot, relatively painless drug / alcohol overdose, or summary hanging, but self-immolation goes beyond that. Thomas Ball could have "given up on his children" without committing suicide at all…Ball made a statement…issued a warning…whether that makes him a hero???……my wanting to see the video of his death, is meant to honor and remember his sacrifice. I doubt Ball ever felt *LISTENED*TO* by "the system" he was betrayed by………seems a shame, that yet once more, again, "law enforcement" has *DESTROYED*EVIDENCE* …..with the connivance of the "Courts"…and *HOT* on the heels of that incident, the new "Circuit Court" has pre-emptively barred "recording devices"….So, is Balls' case one that ushers in a new era of *SECRET*COURTS*???…….stay tuned…~tKoK.


  1. USA Cheshire Sheriff Destroys Self-Immolation Footage - [...] right of access to governmental proceedings and records shall not be unreasonably restricted. Cheshire Sheriff Destroys Self-Immolation Footage -…

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