NHCLU Files Motion Challenging Border Patrol Checkpoints!

Border Patrol in Derby Line, VT

Border Patrol Agents Hassle Us Over Recording Video of their Checkpoint

Good news! The privacy-invading internal border patrol checkpoints that appeared in New Hampshire’s North Country this summer have been challenged in court by the NH Civil Liberties Union!

From their press release:

As stated in the ACLU-NH’s motion, during these border patrol checkpoints, the Woodstock Police Department (“WPD”) and the New Hampshire State Police separately worked in concert with United States Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) to circumvent the independent protections provided by the New Hampshire Constitution against dog-sniff searches in the absence of a warrant or reasonable suspicion. Specifically, federal CBP agents used dog-sniff searches in situations where New Hampshire law enforcement would have been barred from conducting similar searches. Resulting evidence from these federal searches was then turned over to state law enforcement for drug prosecutions. (more…)

Police Pay Out $275,000 For Illegal Wiretapping Arrest in Manchester

Alfredo Valentin

Alfredo Valentin, Hero

How many spankings in their own courts must the governments of New Hampshire endure before they finally learn their lesson? Three years ago, Weare police settled for over $57,000 to then-Free State Project president Carla Gericke for arresting her for recording them on the side of the road.

Now Manchester police are shelling out $275,000 to Alfredo Valentin who was arrested for recording the police on his smartphone inside his own home during a drug raid. Police were raiding Valentin’s home searching for evidence against another man, Christopher Chapman. Though police already had Chapman in custody from an earlier arrest, they went ahead with a full swat raid against Valentin’s house, including, “firing incendiary devices through the property’s windows, kicking in the doors, and entering the property SWAT-style with semi-automatic weapons—damaging property, terrifying the two women who were still in the house, and creating an unjustifiable risk of accidental death or injury”. This according to the one million dollar lawsuit against Manchester brought by the excellent NH Civil Liberties Union.

Valentin was never charged for anything drug-related, only for “wiretapping” police. A lower court judge in NH ruled back in 2015 that even secretly recording police was legal in New Hampshire.

Darryl W Perry and Ian Freeman at the 2017 ACLU 1st Amendment Awards Dinner

Darryl W Perry and Ian Freeman at the 2017 ACLU 1st Amendment Awards Dinner

NHCLU head attorney Gilles Bissonnette worked with attorney Richard Lehmann on the case. In a press release published at IndepthNH.org, the NHCLU’s Bissonnette said, “This settlement recognizes that the right of citizens to observe and record the police is a critical check on the use of power and force by law enforcement…The police need to understand that individuals who are recording their work without interference have a constitutional right to do so, and it is not cause for their arrest.”

Major thanks to the NHCLU for their excellent work holding Manchester police accountable. Too bad its taxpayers who have to foot the bill instead of the terrible, oppressive officers themselves.

DUI Checkpoint Activism + College Know-Your-Rights Outreach

Recently I wrote the eulogy for Cop Block, the national police accountability activist news website. Nothing lasts forever, especially in the world of activism, where doing the right thing rarely means one can make a living at it. Burnout is real and has happened to some of the brightest activists to ever hit the Cop Block scene.

Cop Block as a national organization may have died, but it’s not dead here in New Hampshire, where it was incubated – according to founder Pete Eyre – in Keene.

Though regular Cop Blocking patrols are more rare these days and more likely to happen in Keene than anywhere else, large numbers of activists still participate in the ongoing DUI checkpoint countering that happens multiple times a year in Manchester.

Toward the end of this summer, state and local police set up DUI checkpoints in Cheshire county for the first time in five years. Thomas Parisi from The Jail Paper came out with the group to document the checkpoint. It was set up just a few hundred feet from the bridge to Brattleboro, VT so we had multiple Cop Blockers on both points of entry to the checkpoint with multiple reflective signs alerting peaceful motorists to the upcoming harassment. Not surprisingly, state police statistics reported zero DUIs were found during the checkpoint, though they did write a bunch of motor vehicle violation tickets and make a few drug possession arrests. So, all victimless “crimes” – another huge waste of taxpayer dollars.

The Jail Paper also reported on Cop Block know-your-rights outreach that regularly happens in the Keene State College neighborhood. Here are both videos in one, courtesy of The Jail Paper:

Brandon Pinney Victorious in Court in Free Speech Case vs NH State Police

Brandon Pinney Fuck Cops

Brandon Pinney Awaits Trial in a “Fuck Cops” Handmade Shirt

After being found guilty last year in Keene District Court of “disorderly conduct” for telling state police to “fuck off”, NH-native Brandon Pinney appealed to a jury trial. I’m happy to announce that thanks to a hung jury, Brandon is victorious, as the state has decided to not retry the case. In an email, Brandon says:

Just letting you know that the deadline has passed for the state to retry me and the hung jury stands. While i am disappointed I was not fully exonerated i am glad and fortunate that in my case a jury of my peers was able to see that the situation did not unfold as the state presented it.

For the full initial district court trial video, you can check out this post. At the time, he heroically wore a “FUCK COPS” homemade t-shirt into court. Free speech includes the right to say unpleasant things to government officials. The district court judge, Edward Burke, was wrong to uphold the charge against him and it was good to see some jurors could see the situation clearly. This is a clear free speech issue, and in the long run the state would have lost in its own courts. Brandon stated further: (more…)

Two Newspaper Appearances in One Day!

NH's Top Newspaper Regularly Features Libertarian Activists

NH’s Top Newspaper Regularly Features Libertarian Activists

I’ve long stated that libertarians in New Hampshire are making a bigger impact than anywhere else. That’s because we’ve concentrated our efforts here as part of an ongoing NH Freedom Migration, and turns out – concentrating activists in one geographic area actually works! Besides the haters who target our activists, you can also tell we’re effective because the media not only writes about our activism regularly, but also reaches out for comment on other issues that don’t even directly involve us.

This happens here because libertarians in New Hampshire are a relevant political force and we cannot be ignored, like happens to libertarians in other states.

Today, I had the honor of being included in two different newspaper articles, in two different newspapers.

First up, Union Leader reporter Meghan Pierce’s story about Dublin’s counterproductive new paraphernalia ordinance that was their top story of the day today. I was given the last word in the piece. Thanks Meghan!

“Apparently the chief (Suokko) and town council just can’t let go of the insane war on drugs and just have to keep pushing to extract more money and obedience from peaceful cannabis users who are our neighbors, co-workers, and friends,”

(more…)

What Happened to CopBlock.org?

Cop Block Badge and Outreach Flier

Cop Block Badge and Outreach Flier

This post was originally made on CopBlock.org. I’m posting it here as well, as who knows what’s going to happen with that site:

Hi, I’m Ian Freeman. I’m one of the original Cop Blockers, which is why I possess badge number five. I’ve been a longtime Cop Blocker, financial supporter and occasional blogger here. Both of Cop Block’s founders, Pete Eyre and Ademo Freeman have lived with me in my home and they are great friends with whom I’ve had some amazing times.

I was alarmed this Summer when Ademo announced that he was putting CopBlock.org up for sale. I wasn’t surprised that he wanted out. Ademo has seen his share of burnout and has suffered greatly in his quest to hold police accountable. Ademo was a trailblazer in police accountability activism and deserves as much of a break as he wants. He’s currently describing himself as a “happily retired activist” and he should be. Our world is better off because Cop Block is in it.

What surprised me about his request to sell the site was the fact that Ademo felt he had to resort to a sale at all. Where were all the Cop Blockers who should have stepped up to take the reins? Ademo had asked the primary contributors to the site about taking over lead roles. Apparently no one stepped up, so Ademo decided to auction the site. When I found this out, I asked around and sure enough, while some people were willing to help, no one wanted to lead. (more…)