NH HB 1682: Bill to Establish “Police Conduct Review Committee” Gains Steam

New Hampshire HB 1682 was introduced by Rep. David Welch (R – Rockingham13) on 1/5/2022, followed by a public hearing on 1/14/2022. The House Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety voted that the bill “ought to pass with amendment” and has been referred to the House Finance Committee for further review.

On the Surface It Sounds Great: Hold Police Accountable for Their Actions

The idea of this bill is to establish a committee that’s considered “independent” and separate from local police jurisdictions in order to ensure police officers are held accountable for their actions (or inactions.) According to Rep. David Welch, the aim of the bill is “to establish a single, neutral, and independent statewide entity to receive complaints alleging misconduct regarding all sworn and elected law enforcement officers.” – HB 1682 public hearing, 1/14/2022 – watch here

As outlined in the bill, officers could potentially face the new Conduct Review Committee for a number of reasons, including: if they’ve been convicted of committing a felony, any sentence of incarceration, excessive use of force, driving while intoxicated, moral turpitude (dishonesty, deceit, theft), acts of omission, lying in a police report or criminal proceeding, falsification of records, tampering with or falsifying evidence, racist conduct or statements, etc.

This all sounds great, because of course law enforcement officers should be held accountable for their actions! Which makes me wonder, why aren’t they now?

Policing the Police With Police

There’s already an established Police Standards and Training Council that handles internal reviews in New Hampshire. The new Law Enforcement Conduct Review Committee would fall under that umbrella, dealing exclusively with misconduct reviews. In recent years the public’s interest in holding police accountable has skyrocketed. Perhaps there are so many cases of police misconduct in the state that they can no longer handle the workload or process them quickly enough. 

Since the new Conduct Review Committee would fall under the already established Standards Council, the governor would (again) be appointing its members. The current Police Standards and Training Council consists of mainly a bunch of police officers appointed by Governor Sununu. Since it is the governor who will be appointing members here again, I’m not sure this bill will be as effective as it looks. A politician hand-picking members within the context of “maintaining absolute objectivity” is a farce.   

The Law Enforcement Conduct Review Committee would consist of:

  • Four law enforcement officers appointed by the governor
  • Three public members with no familial associations to a police officer, lawyer, or judge

It’s A Step in the Right Direction

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Update: New NH HB 1025 Aims to Limit Witnessing Police

This bill would give police the right to tell any person they must stay back at least 30 feet.

 

A new bill was introduced to the NH House on January 5, 2022 that, if passed, could have serious, far-reaching consequences for 1st amendment auditors and anyone attempting to witness or film police interactions in New Hampshire.  

Introduced by Rep. Al Baldasaro (R – Rockingham 5) and cosponsored by Rep. David LoveRep. Vanessa SheehanSen. Sharon CarsonSen. Bob Giuda, and other Republicans, the bill attempts to add an 11th section to Chapter 642 of the Criminal Code; (642:11 Impeding or Provoking a Law Enforcement Officer.) 

Update

NH HB 1025 was presented to the New Hampshire House Committee on January 19, 2022. Committee members voted unanimously to recommend ITL (inexpedient to legislate) status for this bill. Nineteen of the 21 members were present, with a final vote in favor of ITL: “Yea” – 19 votes; “Nay” – 0 votes; with 2 not voting. You can view the vote in the video below (48:35 – 52:10.)

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VIDEO: Another Week, Another Mask Freedom Protest at the NH Governor’s House

This past weekend there were actually two gatherings of mask-freedom activists at New Hampshire governor Chris Sununu’s house at 71 Hemlock Ct. in Newfields, NH. The first was on Saturday when a small group paid a surprise visit to Sununu’s home. Within minutes, the police arrived and Sununu and his wife and kids left in separate cars.

The following day dozens more people showed up again at 2pm with signs, cameras, and a PA system to let their grievances be known. State police were on the scene as expected, but it didn’t appear the Sununus were at home. Here’s video of the rally from Vincent Moore of Shire Free Media:

Kudos to the Union Leader for sending out a reporter as well. Here is their story on the event.

VIDEO: Activists Protest at NH Governor’s House for First Time Ever

Protestors in front of NH governor's home.

Protestors in front of NH governor’s home for the first time ever.

As originally announced here at Free Keene, approximately one hundred people gathered Sunday afternoon at New Hampshire’s “governor” Chris Sununu’s house at 71 Hemlock Ct. in Newfields, NH. Many had been pushed over their limit by his recent statewide mask mandate, but it wasn’t just about him trying to tell people what to wear, it was also about ruining businesses and destroying jobs and lives with his “emergency orders”.

Sununu’s edicts have invaded our homes and businesses, so now we’re invading his. It’s been a long time coming and today was a lot of fun as we joined together from across NH. Sununu’s gubernatorial primary challenger, Nobody, was in attendance and purchased hundreds of dollars worth of pizza for the crowd on the cold, late-fall afternoon. Ten-year-old Lucas, who earlier had been calling out Sununu on a megaphone, grabbed a pizza and attempted to walk it up the driveway to offer it to the multiple state police officers that had been assigned to protect “HIS EXCELLENCY”. They told him to leave the property, as is shown in this highlights video by Vincent Moore from Shire Free Media:

Also, when the Domino’s driver pulled up, he had on a mask but removed it and smiled as he received plenty of cash tips from the excited attendees. It was a great day for us, but probably not for Sununu as he hid inside his home like the cowardly, sniveling politician he is.

Despite sending out a press release to mainstream media, only one reporter showed up from Seacoast Online and she published a pretty fairly written story.

For more longform coverage, check out the full two hour livestream from Breaking the Flaw here: (more…)

School Resource Officer Who Tackled Student Also Killed Man in 2010

Over the last several days the video and story about Keene High’s “school resource officer” Joshua English attacking and tackling a student for allegedly vaping in the school’s bathroom, has gone viral. However, there’s more to the story than cop-attacks-teen, though this incident alone is bad enough. In case you haven’t heard about this incident, according to other students the young man who was viciously attacked by English was vaping in the bathroom and English confronted him. The student heroically refused to identify himself to the armed, intimidating, uniformed man and walked out of the bathroom. Moments later, English bursted out of the bathroom and tackled the peaceful student, subduing him with a shocking level of force.

Thankfully, another brave student pulled out their phone upon hearing a commotion from inside the bathroom and captured the entire tackling on video:

Understandably many are outraged at the officer’s use of force over a simple vaping incident, but that’s not really what caused English to fly into a violent rage. The young victim’s real crime was disobedience. The youth had the gall to act as though he were a free man, walking away from a threatening, potentially violent anti-nicotine nuisance and attempting to go about his day. English has his “authority” to worry about and can’t possibly be seen by others as someone who one could just walk away from without consequence, so he used violence to dominate the young man in front of a crowd of people.

Keene Police have been making headlines nationwide for proclaiming that English was fully within police guidelines for his use of force against the “subject” – yes, that’s actually how they refer to the rest of us non-gang members. Keene police chief Steve Russo exonerated English in a recent release, saying his agent had not violated any department guidelines or state statutes, but Russo said further that English was worried the young man was a potential trespasser, claiming to the Union Leader, “At that point, he didn’t even know he was a student”.

Keene Police Officer Joshua English

Keene Police Officer Joshua English

Perhaps English needs to have his memory tested. While it would certainly be hard to remember previously seeing one random male in a school with over one thousand students, how could English forget that he’d written the same young man a ticket for “possessing tobacco products” two weeks prior? The student’s father showed the proof of this claim to WHDH-TV in Boston.

While Keene Police are trying to make English look like a hero protecting the school from a potential intruder, the reality is much different. In KPD’s official release, they claim the Keene Police and the school district are, “committed to maintaining the safety and security of the students…which may regrettably include when necessary, the use of force to secure that safety.” There were no allegations the young victim was doing anything violent. He was allegedly vaping in the bathroom. No one was threatened by the young man. The only dangerous, violent threat in Keene High School that day was Keene Police’s Joshua English. Who is he?

Don’t expect the mainstream media to do a modicum of digging about English. Otherwise you might have already discovered English shot a man to death in Keene back in 2010. Free Keene blogger and former police officer Brad Jardis covered the story here when English was found to be within the state’s use-of-force guidelines in the shooting incident. In that case, the man who was shot by English was holding a knife to a woman’s throat, so our blogger Jardis agreed with the shooting as necessary. However, is it really the best decision to assign one of the only officers at KPD who has violently taken another human being’s life the duty of being the high school’s cop? (more…)

Should Callers Pay for Expensive Police Service?

There are tons of services that police provide: Elderly check-ins, noise complaints, damaged property, stolen purses, runaway children, etc. They all cost money, and for the most part, communities are happy to pay. Justice is something most people want, and so we pay a group of people to provide it.

But what happens when the cost is astronomical? Like, crazy. Like, incalculably high? So high, no one even knows the number? Is there anyone putting downward pressure on costs when it comes to service from the police, or do they have a blank check on the community bank account?

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