After I got off-the-air from my live Saturday radio program (on which we discussed the initial Pumpkin Fest 2014 riots), I headed back down to the college. At the time, there was a helicopter broadcasting a message to disperse or be arrested. I arrived at the gateway to Keene State College – Winchester St. to witness a huge throng of police marching down the street. I quickly pulled out my camera and began to record:
After walking around the nearest building on campus, in full view of the line of police, activists walked onto campus and right back over to Winchester St. We continued walking west on Winchester and no cops said anything to us there. However, we again went on campus and came back out on Madison St., on the west end of the college. Here there were several police standing around the intersection and one of them told me we couldn’t pass, despite college students walking down Winchester St. immediately behind them.
The solution, (visible on the graphic to the right) was simply to walk 30 feet south and cut through the parking lot, back to Winchester St., wherein we were easily able to walk right past the same officers moments later.
What the hell was the point of these chokepoints anyway? The riots had been over for a while by now. It seemed the police were just enforcing arbitrary lines, and not very effectively or consistently. After checking out the police staging area, which the BEARCAT never actually left (thankfully), we came back to Winchester and Madison, where a very large group of armored and other police had gathered despite nothing at all happening there. It appeared they were preparing for transport elsewhere, however, before they could take off, three guys walked up from the dorms in search of late-night eats at the Campus Convenience store on the southeast corner.
Despite them being in the exact same place I was just minutes earlier, these young men were told to “GO HOME!” over and over with the demand being shouted by multiple officers. Within moments, the officers swarmed and attacked the guys (jump right to that part of the video), who had stated they were hungry. Did the officers behave differently toward them than they did me because there were more of the police present when the guys walked up?
This action by the police, like the arrest of the guy walking down the sidewalk earlier in the day, was completely unnecessary and outrageous. These guys wanted some munchies, not to eat pavement. They had not hurt anyone and had not threatened anyone. This is pure escalation. Not long after, city boss John MacLean and police chief Ken Meola are seen laughing it up across the street, ironically in front of “Alpha Dogs” eatery.
Stay tuned to Free Keene for the latest on the Pumpkin Fest 2014 Riots.