A policewoman in Hollis, New Hampshire thought it was the right thing to do to take out her pepper spray and launch it unannounced into the eyes of peaceful 21-year-old Eric Geller, who was visiting his alma mater to have discussions with his former professors.
In my recent interview with Eric, he says that he can’t imagine how an imaginary entity, “The State of New Hampshire” is able to be a victim of his peaceful actions. He also says that he feels he has the right to stand on public property so long as he’s not hurting anyone or getting in the way, which he says he wasn’t. Eric seems to be pretty liberty-minded in every matter which I discussed with him, so I look forward to hearing more as this story develops. He is new to all this legal business, and I would like to offer my support in any way I can, even if it’s just attending his trial. Eric is facing 3 misdemeanor A charges: Criminal Trespass (being on school property), Disorderly Conduct (being on school property), and Resisting Arrest (going limp), and faces up to 3 years in jail plus $3,000 in fines. He hasn’t decided whether or not he will take the issue to court or accept a plea offer, so maybe if others reach out to him, he will know he will not be fighting alone.
His story is particularly interesting because of the recent militarization of local police and the growing sensitivities related to members of the public treating the public property of a public school as if the first amendment applies there. It certainly has not been argued that Eric has infringed anyone else’s rights, but how will agents of the state pay him restitution for the harm they did to him that day? Things like subjecting this unarmed man to a painful chemical weapon (which is banned by the international rules of war) while inside a school and jailing him.
Agents of the state certainly have a lot of nerve to claim that they were acting to protect an imaginary entity, The State of New Hampshire, and that Eric somehow insulted the peace and dignity of this imaginary entity by peacefully standing on property for which he is forced to pay.