Before Robin Hooding hit it big, there were years of various activists performing the good deeds. Here’s a flashback to 2012 in an heretofore unreleased (by chance) video of Jason Short of the Keene Police Department affirming that Robin Hooding is legal and also impressively shows his knowledge that he is supposed to take insults well as a police officer. Some cops are not too good at this, but Short is right, it is supposed to be legal to talk shit to a police officer, at least that’s my understanding as well regarding what courts have upheld. Not that anyone was doing any insulting of anyone else that day – I certainly don’t think that insults build bridges – I’d rather offer hugs.
What you don’t see in the video: Kate continues to the parking garage in hope of saving more motorists from the meter maid. In or near the garage, she reported that Uhas threatened her with arrest for “Disorderly Conduct”, intimidating her since she was all alone with him. 🙁
For years I have been doing outreach at Keene State College. This normally consists of handing out fliers on campus, especially during class changes. Only this year did I ever encounter any trouble from campus security, when they threatened me with a no trespass order if I were to continue handing out information. Upon visiting with one of the college directors in his office, I inquired regarding their policy. I was told that not even KSC students may hand out fliers on campus! I was informed that I could have a table in the student center, just like the students can have. I would be allowed to sit behind the table, quietly, and only interact with people who came up to speak to me.
This was unacceptable to me. It’s highly ineffective. Why sit at a table all day or even for a few hours, when my friends and I can deliver hundreds of fliers in fifteen minutes during class change? Besides, aren’t college campuses advertised as the holy grail of free speech? What a bunch of nonsense.
So, last week on Thursday, I returned to the campus with new mover Daryl Perry. (more…)
In the most pleasantly surprising news of the year, the Keene Sentinel has broken a story about Keene Police lieutenant Jason Short advocating mass civil disobedience regarding the city’s recently passed mask mandate. Though the Sentinel piece appears to want to shock readers with Short’s opinions, those of us who have engaged with him over more than a decade of peaceful civil disobedience activism are proud to see his evolution.
The Sentinel reveals that Short posted the following to his facebook account:
“Remember the bad guys in movies don’t know they are bad, they think they are doing the ‘right thing’ for the benefit of society. It is only when the ‘good guy’ stands up to them that they realize they are wrong. Citizens need to stand up and stop simply complying to this nonsense mandates.”
The rest of the Sentinel piece is designed to gin up outrage that a police officer dared to openly speak against the city gang’s precious mask ordinance. However, surprisingly, Keene Police chief Steven Russo actually covered for Short rather than throwing him under the bus, explaining to the reporter that it’s Short’s right to express himself as Short doesn’t lose the right to free speech just because he works for the state. Russo claims, “Lt. Short will enforce the Ordinance consistent with my guidance and in the same spirit as all of our Officers regardless of his personal feelings”, but doesn’t say what his “guidance” is. There is a good chance Russo’s “guidance” is to encourage Keene police to use discretion regarding enforcing the ordinance.
Many people, including those railing against Short online for expressing independent thoughts, simply do not understand that all police officers have discretion. Discretion is the ability for each officer to decide whether to enforce any given statute or ordinance, with few exceptions. As I understand it, generally, police officers are only obligated to enforce certain violent felonies. So, even if Russo tells Short to enforce the mask mandate, Short can still use his discretion and the worst than can be done to him is he’d likely get a stern talking-to or perhaps reassigned to the night shift.
Keene Police Officer Jason Short, Civil Disobedience Advocate
City mob boss Elizabeth Dragon was even approached by Sentinel reporter Caleb Symons for comment on whether Short could be disciplined, but she wisely refused to return his calls, as she probably doesn’t want to admit there’s nothing the city council can do if the police refuse to enforce their ordinance. From what I understand, Short isn’t the only police officer who feels as he does.
A decade ago, Short was the antagonist during Derrick J Freeman’s “Victimless Crime Spree“, arresting Free Keene blogger Derrick J in Central Square for open possession of cannabis. In 2014, as the DEA was raiding then-Main Street business Phat Stuff, Keene police were running cover for them and I confronted Short outside the business about his role in the situation. During the conversation, I asked him how he feels about a productive downtown business being destroyed by the DEA, and he told me, “what I feel don’t matter”. I responded that it does matter, which is why I asked him for his opinion.
Now, more than half a decade later, Short appears to have changed his tune, and for the better. He’s not only expressing his opinion about bad law publicly, he’s also taking the correct position – that the mask mandate is evil and needs to be disobeyed. That’s because good people disobey bad laws and good cops refuse to enforce them.
If Jason Short can go from bad guy to good guy, maybe there is hope. Whether or not activists like Derrick J have had a positive influence on Short over the years, kudos to Short for taking a stand.
In November of 2015 the Secret Service gang came to Concord and took over the state house property, stripping all entrants (except law enforcement) of their weapons. They even took Vermin Supreme’s pony.
It seems that wherever the Secret Service goes, the supposed rights guaranteed by the constitutions, both NH and US, disappear. In December they visited Keene State College where Keene police officers were used to supplement the Secret Service agents. Ben Carson, one of the Republican presidential candidates, was scheduled to speak.
After subjecting my camera bag to a dog sniff as well as a metal detector just to get in the building, I decided to go outside and see if I could ambush interview Carson as he arrived. However, multiple KPD officers and secret service had set up a “secure zone” behind the building. Here’s the video of what happened:
Just three days prior to the Carson event, James Cleaveland had won in court after being illegally arrested by state police at the scene of a suicide in 2014. This fact did not stop Keene police officer Jason Short from threatening me with arrest for not moving back fast enough from the alleged “secure zone” outside the college’s student center.
I mentioned the state police’s loss in James’ case and Short told me that he, “won’t lose this one” as he told me to move back to the dumpsters. I began moving back, but not fast enough for his liking. He then tells me I have three seconds or else I get kidnapped. (more…)
Josh Paulette is a Cheshire county sheriff’s deputy. We first met when I was being transported to the jail for my first act of noncooperation close to a decade ago. He was as courteous as someone could be who is tasked with transporting people in shackles. Like many police in New Hampshire, Josh is easy-going, affable, and is generally pleasant to encounter, even when depriving you of your liberty. Like all of us humans, he’s not perfect. There was one time that James Cleaveland witnessed (and video recorded) Josh tackle a young college-age male after he drunkenly ran from an open container arrest, but aside from that adrenaline-fueled incident, I have nothing but praise for my experiences with Josh.
Earlier this month, Josh pulled me over for allegedly cutting through a parking lot to avoid a red light on West St, which is apparently illegal in NH, despite the common practice’s positive effect on traffic flow. One of the general principles of Cop Blocking is not talking to the police, but when you have a cordial relationship with them, as many activists in Keene do, a different approach is necessary.
When interacting with police you know, consider the following options along with the standard Cop Block suggesstions: (I don’t employ all of them in the video – this stuff takes practice, and I’m not perfect.)
Be polite, yet assertive of your rights. – Asserting your rights actually helps keep polite police as well-behaved as possible. Police would prefer to deal with people who don’t know their rights. Even though an officer’s demeanor may be cordial, he *is* conducting an investigation and has the ability to deprive you of your liberty with near-zero consequences to himself. Don’t let them fool you into a false sense of safety. Despite Josh’s friendly demeanor, this is an adversarial encounter and you can hear the adrenaline in my voice when I say “I don’t know.” I’ve had lots of experience with police, but it’s still common for me to be nervous when pulled over, especially at first. Practice helps, but you still never really know what will happen.