Ian Freeman, Malaise Lindenfeld, Aria DiMezzo, co-plaintiffs lawsuit against mask mandates in NH.
In a fifty-seven page lawsuit filed today in federal court in Concord, New Hampshire, Aria DiMezzo and other plaintiffs including downtown restaurant “Pho Keene Great” are targeting the mask mandates issued by the “City of Keene” and “His Excellency”, NH Governor Chris Sununu.
Attorney Robert Fojo, who also sued Nashua earlier this year over their mandatory mask ordinance, is heading up the suit. In the detailed complaint, Fojo argues the City of Keene’s mask mandate is illegal, as New Hampshire is not a “home rule” state. Municipalities in New Hampshire are only allowed to create ordinances if state law authorizes it. Fojo says cities and towns do not have that authorization when it comes to masks. Additionally, Fojo says the Keene ordinance and Sununu’s state-level mask mandate on groups over 100 people is also a violation of people’s constitutionally protected rights.
In multiple counts, the suit points out the mask restrictions violate the right to assemble, due process, freedom of religion, and the freedom of speech via facial expressions and literally having one’s air passages restricted. Attorney Fojo cites some strongly-written Texas court decisions from this year including Abbott 20-0291 where the Texas Supreme Court agreed unanimously that, “The Constitution is not suspended when the government declares a state of disaster.” and Salon A La Mode, et al 20-0340, where the same court wrote, “All government power in this country, no matter how well-intentioned, derives only from the state and federal constitutions. Government power cannot be exercised in conflict with these constitutions, even in a pandemic…If we tolerate unconstitutional government orders during an emergency, whether out of expediency or fear, we abandon the Constitution at the moment we need it most.”
Sadly, too many people in New Hampshire have been obeying myriad outrageous infringements on our liberties. Some obey out of irrational fear of a relatively unremarkable virus that the media and governments across the world have blown way out of proportion. Others obey the draconian edicts because they are afraid of what their obedient neighbors might think. Business owners comply too, some because they either believe the government’s propaganda or think the restrictions are what their frightened customers want and they don’t want to lose their business. Other business owners obey the diktats simply because they are afraid of what the government goons will do to them if they don’t do as they are “ordered”.
As a result of this pervasive culture of fear, very few NH business owners have stood up against these arbitrary “orders” endlessly emanating from “His Excellency”, and yes, Sununu’s orders really do refer to him in that way.
Magician and Comedian Penn Jillette Wearing a Pho Keene Great Shirt!
Thank goodness for Pho Keene Great, the best-named restaurant in all of New Hampshire that made international headlines after the “City of Keene” gang threatened their moniker during the 2018 Christmas holiday. Owner Malaise Lindenfeld is a local entrepreneur with a knack for opening and operating successful, trendy restaurants. Sadly, like so many businesses across New Hampshire and elsewhere, two of her three area restaurants, Audrey’s Cafe and Piedra Fina have been closed permanently due to the power-mad restrictions imposed this year by tyrant king Sununu.
When asked about her involvement in the lawsuit, Lindenfeld – who immigrated from Venezuela – said, “I am leary of being forced to do things “for the greater good”. Historically, the government starts with small actions and then moves on to sweeping changes that erode our freedoms. COVID-19 could be a case study on how this is true. We started with closing restaurants for two weeks to flatten the curve, and moved on to general lockdowns and mandatory mask wearing. Every time a new rule is made we are told that it is just one small sacrifice for the greater good. “If we could save one life”, we are told, it will all be worth it. But each small sacrifice adds up to one large violation of our rights. I have seen this as a Jew and as a Venezuelan, and I know that ultimately this is not about the greater good after all, but about the greater concentration of power. I am not willing to quietly relinquish my freedom.”
Lindenfeld’s co-plaintiff needs no introduction to those paying attention to the news in the last week. Aria DiMezzo who launched from relative obscurity to international headline-grabber by securing the republican nomination for Cheshire County Sheriff despite being a self-described “Anarchist She-Male” who also happens to be the High Priestess of the Reformed Satanic Church in Keene. Given Keene’s mask mandate targets all “business” including non-profits, her Keene-based church has standing to sue the city gang.
We will not obey.
DiMezzo weighed in regarding her reasons for being co-plaintiff in the case, saying, “It’s not about whether masks are effective or ineffective. That isn’t the issue here. It’s about whether the government can force me to put on a identifier…It’s about whether the government can turn you, my brothers and sisters, my friends, my family in humanity, against me on the basis of what I wear. This is not a Jewish star in Nazi Germany. However, precedents are important. If we allow this to happen, there is no telling what might come next.”
The third co-plaintiff is me, Ian Freeman, co-founder of Bitcoin Embassy NH in Keene and also minister of the Shire Free Church, which in addition to operating the Embassy, owns the building housing the Embassy. The Embassy also runs the local cryptocurrency meetup group that continued to hold meetings even in the early days of COVID in defiance of governor’s orders prohibiting gatherings of over ten. All the lawsuit co-plaintiffs were co-organizers of a mask freedom rally held in Keene’s Central Square after Sununu issued his “order” banning unmasked gatherings of over 100. The order targets organizers of such events with the penalty, not the attendees, much like the Keene mask ordinance that puts the consequences on local business owners, turning them into unpaid enforcers against their own customers, effectively forcing them to cut their own business’ throats.
This lawsuit isn’t perfect. It targets only the most symbolic of the insane restrictions put in place over the last six months – the mask mandates in Keene and statewide. It’s merely a starting point. The ideal suit would be to target all the governor’s orders and the statutes that enable him to issue them in the first place, however our attorney says that needs to be done in state court and our case here is federal. Attorney Fojo already has a couple of relevant cases pending in state court with other clients. Stay tuned here to Free Keene for updates regarding any progress or failure in regards to the legal pushback against this insane medical authoritarian state growing around us. Whether our suit prevails or not, we’ll never win so long as people keep obediently doing what these government goons tell them. When will you stop obeying?
Well over one hundred freedom-loving people gathered on Saturday in Keene’s Central Square to protest both Keene’s mask mandate and “His Excellency’s” recent “orders” mandating groups over 100 to wear masks, or else. There were some great speeches including former law enforcement officer Dan LeClair – running for NH Senate District 10 – who struck at the root, saying, “It’s about government taking away our right to decide for ourselves what we should do with our own bodies…there is nothing greater than an individual’s right to freedom.”
It’s worth noting that this event took place after “His Excellency” Chris Sununu “ordered” any scheduled event over 100 people to have face masks, or else the event organizers will be hit with misdemeanor charges, and we definitely hit over 100 people. One count near its peak had 120. Big thanks to 8.3L organizer David Lheureux for putting it together.
David Lheureux wasn’t expecting to be a protest leader, however he couldn’t ignore our freedoms slipping away and decided he was going to do something about it. This Spring, the self-described “gearhead” created “8.3L”, or “Eight Point Three Leader”, named after a six-wheel military truck used to pull big trailers. I spoke with Lheureux by phone this morning and asked him about the vehicular mascot. He told me, “Engine heart of vehicle, we need to think about our hearts and what’s driving us.”
As he created the group, the medical authoritarian state began to rise and along with it came mask mandates being passed across the country and now beginning to crop up even in supposed “live free or die” New Hampshire. This week, Keene’s city gang bosses are expected to vote Thursday night on a proposed mask mandate targeting business owners with fines.
It’s also a symbol of obedience and fear.
Lheureux’s event, set for Central Square 11a-4p on Saturday August 15th, will be going on regardless of the Keene council’s vote on the issue. We know from the BEARCAT debacle that they don’t actually care about rights or what people want. Expected speakers at the event include the two gubernatorial candidates who are taking on tyrant-king Chris Sununu in the primary, Karen Testerman, and Keene’s own “Nobody“!
While positioned by its proponents as pro-health, the face mask is actually anti-human. Combined with so-called “social distancing” – which is anything but social – the masks prevent people from making the most human of connections with others – being able to see facial expressions.
Sadly, large numbers of Americans have fallen right in line and begun wearing them as their corporate overlords have been demanding. Most aren’t willing to lose a job in a protest over a work uniform, understandably. However, because the corporations are working hand-in-hand with the state to propagate obedience, the seeming ubiquity of the masks leads more people to comply, if not for fear of receiving a threat from a uniformed government gang member, then certainly because of the immense societal pressure from fearful peers and neighbors. Some of whom are so scared of COVID – which has killed a very small percentage of people – they will yell at or even physically attack non-mask-wearing free people.
We need more businesses like this.
Worse, some have even politicized the issue and conveniently ignore that the mandates and lockdowns come from both Democrat and Republican government goons. I don’t care what politicians and their pet doctors say – they are liars and they are always seeking more power. 2020 has been a banner year for the power-seekers thus far. They’ve successfully locked down swaths of the population, deployed checkpoints and armed, masked gangsters in the streets, destroyed countless businesses with their insane restrictions, and are now telling people what they have to wear. It’s tragic.
Eight years after I was released from jail, my record now shows no arrests, no charges, no jail time. Just a regular guy who has had zero problems with the law. All wiped away. I am so relieved. Thanks for following along with this story. It is now officially over. NO CRIMINAL RECORD. The End!
Massive crowd watching speakers at BLM event in Keene.
Finally, average people are showing concern for police violence! It only took thousands of innocent bodies piled up over many years and countless millions of peaceful people arrested for victimless crimes before enough people got mad enough to do something. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re probably aware of the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis cops who brazenly choked him to death for several minutes while being recorded on video as Floyd tried to plead with the gang of killers and alert them that he could not breathe.
However, what happened to Floyd was the spark that lit a flame – literally, with large numbers of people coming out from their homes to join in protests demanding police accountability and railing against police violence, which is used more often against blacks, but affects all of the human race. The protestors even torched the Minneapolis third precinct station after police abandoned the property after days of protests outside, which was an amazing victory and was refreshing to see the people’s understandable anger targeted where it was actually deserved.
KPD’s Cristina Paterno and Cheshire Sheriff Eli Rivera hear you, but will they listen and change?
Sadly, some protests have also been sullied by violence committed against people and the destruction of private property in many cities. The destruction of innocent-owned private property has been significant and tragic. However, New Hampshire has thankfully avoided these losses, likely because people here are much more free to defend their property from attackers, with weapons if necessary. The people who are targeting private property are unwelcome among the peaceful protestors and are likely a mix of police acting as agents-provocateur and opportunists who are looking to destroy and/or steal.
Today in Keene, several hundred people gathered in Central Square at 4pm today for a Black Lives Matter protest that rivaled the BLM event from Manchester, NH on Saturday. After nearly fifteen years in Keene, I’ve never seen anything this big in Central Square, ever. Today’s event was probably 4-5 times larger than the biggest 420 rallies in Central Square more than a decade ago.
Large crowd in Keene kneels, fist up.
The honking from drivers was nearly non-stop including multiple large trucks and tractor trailers laying on their horns to cheers from the excited crowd. Keene’s police chief Steven Russo and Cheshire County’s sheriff Eli Rivera were both present in the heart of the park holding signs saying, “We hear you” and taking pictures with people. To their credit, this was a smart move. By physically joining the protestors, the police acting like humans can diffuse anger and deescalate tensions. However, talk is cheap, and “hearing” isn’t the same as “listening”, and it’s certainly not actually changing their behavior.
Will the Keene police stop arresting peaceful people for victimless crimes? It’s the insane war on drugs and other prohibitions that have resulted in people of all shapes and sizes and colors being attacked, imprisoned, and murdered by police nationwide for decades. Keene’s police have made a myriad of drug busts and assisted the DEA in raiding a popular local head shop on Main Street several years ago. A stroll through past posts at Keene Cop Block shows just a fraction of the lives the local police have ruined in the name of their authoritarian prohibitions. Are they going to now see how they harmed their brothers and sisters, issue an apology, change their ways and send back the BEARCAT armored tank to its manufacturer?
I sure hope so, for their sake, but then again, I’m an optimist.