Activists Hold Beer Pong Event – Cops Threaten Arrests, Then Back Down: VIDEO

Beer Pong Railroad Square

Beer Pong Protest, September 2016

As promised in a press release earlier this week, Keene liberty activists followed through on a promised Beer Pong event in Railroad Square. Held Saturday at noon, the event was intended to call attention to the oppressive open container ordinance here in Keene. Event organizer Bob Call was interviewed by reporters from the Keene Sentinel and Union Leader and explained how the ordinance targets college students and poor people and doesn’t do anything to actually keep drunk people off the streets.

The open container ban does however transfer a lot of wealth to the state from the victims of the police’s aggression. Enforcing open container means big money for the government, and as event co-organizer Chris Waid points out, it also protects restaurants and bars, giving them the exclusive ability to allow someone to enjoy alcohol on the sidewalk. That means the law is discriminatory in that if you can’t afford to pay for a drink at restaurant/bar prices, you can’t enjoy a drink outside in downtown Keene.

Here’s a video covering the over an hour that we were there (police lied to the Union Leader claiming we were only there for 30 mins):

Yesterday’s protest went well and no one was arrested despite the police threatening everyone playing beer pong with arrest. They cited a city ordinance that arguably does not even apply to Railroad Square, claiming playing games involving throwing a ball are prohibited in the area! Either they were bluffing or they didn’t actually read the ordinance, which specifically states that throwing games are banned from Central Square and “on the streets and sidewalks of the downtown area”. I supposed someone could argue that Railroad Square is a street or sidewalk, but there’s a strong argument it’s neither.

Beer Pong Cops

Officers Colin Zamore and Andrew Lippincott deliver threats to the beer pong activists.

Plus, the ordinance is clearly intended to address games that could cause interference in the normal traffic of business in the downtown area: “For the safety and protection of participants, pedestrians, passersby, motorists, and property, no person shall, unless authorized by permit, play games involving running, jumping, throwing, catching, or similar physical activity, including but not limited to games of ball”. Even if it could be argued that Railroad Square is a street or sidewalk, it’s pretty clear that no one’s safety is in jeopardy from a ping-pong ball. The ordinance was obviously crafted to stop frisbee and football players’ projectiles from flying into traffic around Central Square, as it specifically prohibits such activities from that area.

Perhaps that’s why Keene police officers Colin Zamore and Andrew Lippincott never returned after threatening the group with arrest if they continued playing after fifteen minutes had gone by. The activists continued to play for about thirty more minutes and then declared victory and went home.

Police spokesman Thaddeus Derendal lied to the Union Leader reporter when he claimed that the protestors were told they needed a permit to set up the table. I was there the entire time and never heard that, nor did the event organizers. Further, as we proved with the many Free Keene Fests that have been held in Railroad Square in past years, no permits are necessary to set up a table in a public park or common. Free Keene Fests have featured multiple canopy tents, tables, food sales, open gambling, actual beer drinking, and even amplified music. If you ask for permission to exercise your right, you have converted your right into a privilege. Just flex your rights – don’t ask permission, and don’t apologize!

Beer Bong

Chug! Chug! Chug! Chug! Activists down a beer bong.

While police could not find any evidence of alcohol being used, they were also very cautious with their tactics. Had this been a group of college students, you can bet their approach would have been more aggressive. Here they merely observed the scene, looking for probable cause to search, like for clearly labeled beer bottles. They did not ask anyone to hand over their bottles for search as they are known to do with students in the college neighborhood.

Officer Zamore refused to share his opinions about alcohol prohibition, but later was more than happy to share his theory about why he did not believe the activists had alcohol. He explained that if we wanted to make good video that we should have had obvious labeled containers of alcohol. He was almost goading the organizers to make his job easier next time so he could make some arrests.

Chris explained to me that they never had an intention to be arrested but were willing to be if it came down to it. The point of the event was to have fun and start a discussion about the absurdity of the open container ordinance. Those things were accomplished and we got the bonus of the police showing up and looking ridiculous threatening people for playing a silly game in a wide-open common. Enjoy the video! Hopefully we’ll see more fun direct action in Keene again soon.

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50 Comments

  1. I love that the cop called your bluff. He was 100% right on. No alcohol.

  2. You can’t prove there wasn’t alcohol and neither could the cop.

  3. They do make alcoholic root beer.

  4. Wow, you guys are changing the world!!! And it only took you 10 years!

  5. That’s cute. Nice try

  6. This article is full of lies. First off, hardly anyone showed up and the event lasted less then a half an hour. You and the other freekeeners were advertising this “event” as if you were really serving alcoholic beverages. Of course the PD is going to be there. The open container law also applies to vehicle operators. There is and never will be an ordinance such as this taken off the books. You definitely failed at your objective and chose to try and have a confrontation with the PD.

  7. This was a bust. The police knew you weren’t using alcohol. You would be able to smell it. They are not dummies. The event lasted barely a 1/2 hour. The freekeeners looked ridiculous .

  8. Jumping Jacks How would you know? Where you there, dickhead? Why don’t you post a picture of yourself so we can properly greet you next time you “show up” to one of our events?

  9. Hey asswipe, nobody showed up to your pathetic little event except for a couple of your pathetic little libertard friends. It wasn’t successful in any way, and nobody downtown gave a shit at whatever “cause” you were trying to shed light on. In fact the hard working citizens of quaint Keene didn’t give a flying fuck what you asshats where doing. Ian Bernard and company are just trying too hard to become relevant again after getting cut off from the FSP, and getting raided by the FBI for being sick little deviant fuckers! Your a virus in this community and a boil on the ass of true libertarians. James from AZ, you just another failure of today’s society, grow up!

  10. BB SIZZLE Oh wow aren’t you upset? Why do you trawl this site if the contents get you this angry? Wake up with blue balls because your pecker is too small to grip fully? Is this how you get your anger out? 
    You’re an insignificant little shit. No one cares about or will care anytime in the future, and leaving worthless comments is your only coping mechanism. Sad!

  11. James from AZ Jumping Jacks Who says I wasn’t there?  Were you there. Your name James from AZ would make it seem like you weren’t. Sounds like the only dickhead is you.

  12. Yep I’m upset at the way you and your asshat friends have made a mockery of this fair city. I’m from the Boston area and if this shit was pulled down there, you would be run out of town. Get gone asshole, you don’t have the cojones to deal with me. No blue balls here, just a blue blood motherfucker that is sick of your twisted shit. You haven’t a backbone. Your a sad excuse of a man! Good luck in life asswipe.

  13. BB SIZZLE Matthew dear, perhaps you could make Keene the paradise you want it to be with a few firm whacks with your socket wrench?

  14. Good boy, you have learned what I’m am all about. This group is a virus, and will be nothing soon. The FBI will rid this scum from my neighborhood sooner than later I hope.
    Welcome to my world, drac!

  15. IWHAT A BUNCH OF DICKS!!! THAT IS NOT THROWING…THROWING IS PUTTING SOMETHING IN YOUR HAND, WITH YOIR FIST WRAPPED AROUND IT AND THEN FLINGING IT. THESE KIDS ARE MERELY HOLDING A TINY BALL WITH TWO FINGERS AND BOUNCING IT….THAT IS NOT THROWING! LOSER COPS HAVE BECOME A MAFIA…THEY’RE ALL GOING TO BE OUT OF JOBS SOON!

  16. BB SIZZLE Now, now Matthew, you shouldn’t be getting ahead of yourself. I have quite a different perspective of you and your world. And frankly, kitten, I can’t put much stock in yours now that you’ve confirmed it comes from Keene’s most infamous man-child. Have you seen yourself on YouTube, Matthew? Those recordings of you are not very flattering, now are they?
    That aside, Matthew, I’m still a tad bewildered about this negative attitude you have towards Ian legal circumstances. I mean after all, your dear wife was unfairly dragged through the mud under a similar set of circumstances, was she not? One would think that after that embarrassing situation, you would be slightly less hasty in making unwarranted judgments.

  17. How would you fill your empty life without them. 🙂

  18. How do you figure my life is empty?  What I see is a bunch of people acting like children because they didn’t get a piece of candy after supper. There was no thought into this event and the only people who were there were a couple of freekeeners.  Not very successful

  19. Yes, the officers knew there was no alcohol in those cups. It’s not hard to figure out

  20. BB SIZZLE Here’s how “strong” boston is…

  21. Integrals BB SIZZLE Indeed Integrals. But what captivates me most about Matthew is his deep-seated belief that carrying a push broom and a bucket filled with soapy water puts him on the same side as the guys driving the HMMVWs. He’s unable to understand that he’s just as much a quarry to them as the rest of us are.

  22. They don’t chalk anymore, and there is reason for that. I kept my finger down on the chalking, and where did it take them? To give up on the chalking because I wouldn’t let it be downtown anymore!
    Sincerely, Mr. Anti-activist

  23. Your nothing anymore thanks to my diligence in ridding the keeniacs from taking downtown from normal respected citizens of downtown Keene. Bye-bye! It’s been a nice and quiet past couple of years since free keene has caused a stir! Your yesterday’s news!

  24. BB SIZZLE Such narcissism coming from you lately, Matthew! I love it!
    So tell me, BS, this finger you’re talking about – that isn’t what you call your socket wrench, now is it?

  25. Nuf said, eh drac?

  26. BB SIZZLE I think perhaps you should research your meme’s more carefully, Matthew dear. That meme is referring to clinical narcissism, a personality disorder currently being advanced in modern psychiatric theory.
    The narcissism I’ve attributed to you is narrower in scope. You see, BS, you tend to come off as somewhat of a braggadocio. And making absurd claims that you single-handedly stopped chalking in downtown Keene isn’t helping to subdue that image.

  27. Jumping Jacks Who else would you expect to show up? Other than maybe the police coming out to support the event I don’t think many people have the time to protest something so horribly wrong- but minuscule in the scheme of things problems.

  28. The event went on for about an hour and a half beyond the official start time although some people were around before then. The police for one showed up half an hour before the event as well as some of the protesters.

  29. It seems ridicules that the police would show up to a small open container protest when 20 people a day overdone in Keene. You would think they have better things to do. Particularly when the event organizers weren’t even using achole. Despite that they still threatened protesters with arrest for ‘throwing’ which turns out not to be against the law in Railroad Square. Only Central Square and on the sidewalks of down town Keene.

  30. BB SIZZLE Open your eyes. There were a few dozen people at the event and dozen or so protesters. The event had the exact impact that was intended. Every time there is an event it brings attention to the fact that there are more and more people moving to Keene and New Hampshire in general that believe in liberty and freedom. For an event to be successful no one need be arrested, no law need be overturned, no police need show up, and no media need report on it. A successful migration of any kind takes time particularly where people are migrating to a small town like Keene which doesn’t have a heck of a lot jobs. The fact that there are still people moving to Keene even if just as a stop over in many cases to other cities and towns in New Hampshire means the events in Keene are have a major impact. There are however more activists and homeowners and not just renters in Keene than ever before. If you take notice there were numerous new movers at this event and people you may recognize from the past have moved on to live in and take up jobs in other parts of the state. The biggest problem with Keene is not Ian Freeman. The biggest problem with Keene is the lack of jobs. Fortunately there are people who are bringing businesses and jobs to Keene. Some people are starting businesses. Not all have been successful, but that’ll never be the case. Most businesses fail within 3 months. The fact there have been new businesses by some going on for over a year evidences that it’s actually the case some people are doing better than average in Keene.

  31. BB SIZZLE The problem is there are people coming in to replace the activists moving out and Ian Freemen isn’t all that critical. This event as an example was put on by new movers to Keene. If Ian is wrongfully locked up there are already people ready to replace him as has been the case in the past.

  32. BB SIZZLE ‘Free Keene’ is coming back with a vengeance. There is new blood ready and willing to take the risks and put in the money, time, and energy to take it back. The police state can make continued civil disobedience difficult, but it doesn’t make it impossible particularly when there are new people moving in all the time. When you start to challenge the authorities as was done in this video you quickly realize the police are good at intimidating, but if you stand your ground more often than not nothing will come from there threats and lies. As was demonstrated by the video despite the threat of arrest for throwing a ball the activists continued to do so and continued to so intentionally way beyond the 15 minute window that was given. The event went on for an hour and a half. Yet no arrests.

  33. BB SIZZLE So you are one of the people who kept washing it away? I’m going to make a point of chalking even though I’ve never done it. It’s people like you who make it so much fun!

  34. Jumping Jacks This was a learning exercise for new activists in Keene. It ended up being a great event. If it had been better planned things may have ended differently.

  35. libretea Jumping Jacks It’s always the same activists who show up at these “events”  How is that progress? Open container laws are there for a reason. Those laws also apply to driving with an open container.

  36. libretea Jumping Jacks No, this was another attempt for freekeeners to get a little attention. These activists are not robin hooding like they used to, they are not writing graffiti like they used to.  Keene is forgetting about them and their destructive activism. The freekeeners are fading away

  37. Jumping Jacks

    This whole problem is one of property ownership.  Every person should be able to consume what they want to, on “their” property.  If they are prevented from consuming something on “their” property, their physical person and physical property has been violated.

    Would you agree the owner of a property should be the one deciding the use of that property ?  The use of their own body?

    The entire issue related to “open container laws”  in Keene is a manifestation of how  alleged public property is called one thing, “public property, but in reality it is administered as if it were the private property of another entity. 

    Since it is alleged to be owned by “everyone” , but in reality controlled by armed men working for a fiction known as “The City of Keene” the problem will never be solved, since it relies on a contradiction.   The public does not really own that property, since “the public” is an amorphous blob created to aid in the perpetuation of the contradictions .  People don’t even own their own bodies, but I’m digressing.   

    It would be best for people to be honest and realize, that calling the property in question “public property” is applying an oxymoron.

    Private property is redundant.   (Gustave de Moliari)

  38. WEEDA CLAUS Jumping Jacks No one is saying you can’t consume alcohol on your property. Public property is not private property. You can’t do what you want on public property. Open container laws are not a bad thing. People who choose to drink and drive, or drive with open containers are the people who this law targets. It is a safety issue. It is also a law you can live with.

  39. Jumping Jacks WEEDA CLAUS No Jacks, open container laws are not solely targeted towards motorists. If that were the case there would be no laws targeting public drinking, now would there?
    Keene’s ordinance was not put into law for the purposes of safety, Jacks. It was added to create a additional revenue source for local authorities. There is nothing inherently dangerous about drinking alcohol in public, Jacks. But when there is a profit motive underpinning a law, and when there are reasonable people who routinely violate it, then there is a problem with that law.

  40. What’s an “achole” libertea? JC

  41. What does “overdone” mean?
    Enlightened us libertea. Or “it seems ridicules”
    Wow this one…

  42. Jumping Jacks WEEDA CLAUS

    If something is called “public property” and is alleged to be owned “by everyone”  aren’t I part of everyone ? Isn’t anyone, part of everyone ?

    Your veering off into some platitudes about how things are regulated and enforced, as if it WERE actual private property, aids my argument that public property is an oxymoron. 

    I don’t mean to be mean, but you do not possess the acumen to hold this conversation.  
    I would attempt to explain this further, but your circular arguments are reminiscent of a hamster thinking he’s on a road trip all the while never leaving his exercise wheel.

  43. Drac Vermell Jumping Jacks WEEDA CLAUS No, the law was put into place for safety. Your twists and spins on the law has no gravity.

  44. WEEDA CLAUS Jumping Jacks Your attempt to twist the subject into a space cadet argument doesn’t work

  45. Jumping Jacks Drac Vermell WEEDA CLAUS How do you know this to be true, Jacks? As a practiced liar yourself, don’t you think it’s more likely that the safety element was emphasized merely as window dressing for the more lucrative profit motive? Enforcement of law doesn’t come free you know. Why shouldn’t politicians find ways to make money off of it?

  46. BB SIZZLE Matthew dear, when you endeavor to be critical of another’s grammar, shouldn’t the aim be to avoid making your own grammar mistakes while doing it? You know kitten, I’m starting to think that this nickname “Mr. Grammar” you’ve given yourself is giving you far more credit than you deserve. Since your speech-to-text device seems to be having considerable difficulty in deciphering the way you speak, I think I may have a nickname better suited for you. What do you think of ‘Mush Mouth?”

  47. i guess it would have been real beer  if beer wasnt against the law

  48. Jumping Jacks WEEDA CLAUS

    If it’s a space cadet argument demonstrate your powers of refutation and dismantle it.

  49. Jumping Jacks
    It’s not always the same activists. At least half of the activists at this event had actually never done any activism before in Keene or New Hampshire. A bunch of people at this event were new to the area and only recently moved here. Another handful of people had moved here only within the last 4-5 months. Another few people I don’t think really do any real activism. It was maybe two or three people at the most that are pretty big activists who even showed up.

Care to comment?