Keene Police Send SWAT Team to Apprehend Non-Violent Man Having Mental Breakdown in Own Home

Man takes highly dangerous selfie in front of SWAT team.

Man takes highly dangerous selfie in front of SWAT team – the mask was added later to protect his identity.

After resigning from his job at Eversource over being sexually harassed and going through a difficult breakup with his girlfriend, a local man was having a mental breakdown in early November inside his own home in Keene, New Hampshire. The man has asked to have his real name protected, so I will refer to him in this story as “NBR”. Running on very little sleep, stressed from losing his job and relationship, and dealing with an undiagnosed mental disorder, NBR was alone in his house and had been throwing his possessions out the window.

According to NBR, when his parents, who love their son dearly, heard about his behavior they were quite concerned for his safety and well-being. They called to have him involuntarily committed so he could get the help and treatment he desperately needed at the time. Or, so they thought.

Unfortunately, then Keene police showed up and took things from bad to worse by responding to the mentally ill man with every cop in the vicinity, plus state police. One neighbor reported counting at least eleven police cruisers on the scene. It was a huge show of force considering NBR has no history of violence, nor had he threatened anybody. In fact, NBR was not charged by the police on the night in question with any crimes whatsoever. The police took him into custody without incident and delivered him to the Cheshire Medical Center to begin his involuntary commitment. There was no legitimate reason for such a large police response.

There was also no reason for several armed men with at least one laser-sighted assault rifle and two full-body shields to break down his front door and terrorize NBR. Though he expressed to the officers that he just wanted to go to sleep, he told me he did not resist their arrest.

The video and photo he took during the break-in by Keene Police, who broke down his front door, is stunning, terrifying, and just sad. In the video, at least one laser-sighted assault rifle is pointed at NBR as police demand he put down the phone in his hand. He makes it clear he is recording, thankfully not being shot to death for holding his phone. People have been killed by police in other jurisdictions when police claimed they thought the phone was a gun. NBR even managed to take an intense picture of the event to share with the world to show how dangerous the police can be and how unnecessary their actions were.

Does anyone actually belive this level of force by the Keene Police Department was appropriate or justified in any way? While it was extremely risky, thankfully NBR recorded the situation so it could be shared with others. It is a terrifying view of the police state on display, in a completely and clearly excessive response to an all-too common situation. Police operating policies and procedures should be changed to prevent this from happening again in the future.

Mental illness is a weak point in the Non Aggression Principle, which is the principle that defines libertarianism.  Clearly in a society with no coercive state, something would need to be done about someone who has lost their mind and has become a danger to himself or others, and that something will usually involve some level of aggression.  However, an involuntary commitment process should not involve men with assault rifles, shields, and overwhelming force unless the person is actually putting people in danger. In this case, NBR was simply having a breakdown in his own home. He was not a danger to himself or others, he did not threaten others, and he did everything the officers ordered him to do without incident.
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NH’s Top Police Chief Resigns After Attacking Own Son

No-longer-a-cop Richard Crate

NH’s top cop has resigned over physical abuse of son – Photo from Valley News’ Jennifer Hauck

Enfield police chief Richard Crate, until recently was the longtime president of the New Hampshire Association of Chiefs of Police. He was a regular figure at state house hearings to decriminalize medical and recreational cannabis. Crate publicly opposed those proposals every step of the way – on behalf of police chiefs across New Hampshire. Here’s some of his testimony on cannabis decrim where he predicted a “wave of devastation”. Needless to say, now a full year since decrim – said devastation hasn’t occurred.

Now it looks like Crate should have take up the habit of consuming cannabis. Maybe a joint at the end of his work day would have helped him calm down and deal with his anger issues that appear to have led him to attacking his own son. Crate resigned earlier this year to avoid prosecution by the state’s attorney general’s office, agreeing that he’ll undergo counseling, apologize to his son, and not seek recertification as a police officer, according to the Union Leader.

Don’t think for a moment that Crate is unusual. In fact, he’s not the first police chief to be embroiled in corruption and controversy. Just last year a police chief from Cheshire county was convicted of rape of an actual child (not a teenager). Don’t forget the New London, NH chief who allegedly coerced college girls to take nude photos in the police basement when they were arrested for some victimless crime or another. Or how about the Canterbury, NH chief who allegedly used his position of power to engage in sexual acts with a female teen police explorer? There’s the Haverhill, NH chief who resigned after being busted for DUI. The list just keeps getting longer and longer – does anyone actually still trust these guys? (more…)

Only Two City Councilors Voted Against Expanding Nicotine Prohibition in Keene

Keene City Council Voting for Prohibition - Photo by Vincent Freeman

Keene City Council Voting for Prohibition – Photo by Vincent Freeman

It’s an early step of the ugly political process that may ultimately expand nicotine prohibition up to age 21 in Keene, New Hampshire. As sadly expected, the full city council voted 12-2 last night to order city staff to write up a new ordinance prohibiting the sale and possession of nicotine-related products for under 21s within the arbitrary geographic area known as Keene.

Several councilors spoke with the majority using the spectre of children using nicotine and how dangerous and addictive the chemical is to justify voting in favor of moving ahead with writing the ban, ignoring all the historic evidence of the failure of prohibition. One councilor, Mitch Greenwald, even voted with the majority despite bizarrely acknowledging in his remarks that prohibition hasn’t worked.

Prohibition is a tactic based on aggressive force against peaceful people that has created terrible unintended consequences each time in history it’s been tried. This time won’t be any different. The council will push legal sales outside the city limits and encourage police to harass even more young people than ever before. Tickets will be written just like they are constantly for underage alcohol possession. The tickets will obediently be paid, and the person who got caught will try to be more careful and not be discovered in the future. Oh, and black market sales to 18-20 year olds will expand in Keene.

You can watch the whole, ugly council discussion and vote here:

It was refreshing to see a couple of politicians stand up against the insanity, including both of Ward 4’s councilors, Margaret Rice and Bob Sutherland who not only voted against crafting the ban, but spoke against it. Rice eloquently said, in her speech to the council:

“It’s not my role to tell somebody what they can and cannot do with their own body, provided that they’re not harming anybody else.” (more…)

Libertarian Transgender Sheriff Candidate Featured in Union Leader Article

Aria DiMezzo files for Cheshire County Sheriff as a Libertarian

Aria DiMezzo files for Cheshire County Sheriff as a Libertarian

Aria DiMezzo made history recently by becoming the first-ever candidate for Sheriff in the United States. Now, she’s making major news with the top newspaper in New Hampshire featuring her in an article about the opinions of the three candidates for Sheriff in Cheshire County.

Not only does the UL’s Damien Fisher feature a quote from Aria at the end of the article, the feature’s photo is of Aria.

It’s going to be an interesting election. Finally, the people of Cheshire County actually have a pro-liberty choice for Sheriff.

You can read the coverage from the Union Leader here. Stay tuned here to Free Keene for the latest.

Cheshire TV Hosts Debate for NH Senate District 10 Candidates

I had the pleasure last week of being part of the Cheshire TV debate featuring two of the three candidates for NH Senate District 10. Incumbent Jay Kahn was unable to attend so it was a two-way debate between me, the libertarian and Dan LeClair, the republican. We covered multiple issues. Here’s an HD version of the same debate that will be airing on Cheshire TV channel 8 through the election on November 6th. I hope you will vote Libertarian wherever you see them on your ballot!

Hypocritical “Free State Project” Quietly Dumps Cody Wilson from Upcoming Convention

The FSP's Announcement of Cody Wilson's Now-Canceled Speech at Liberty Forum 2019

The FSP’s Announcement of Cody Wilson’s Now-Canceled Speech at Liberty Forum 2019

UPDATED @ 20:31 Eastern 2018-09-22 – I contacted a source within the FSP about this last night, long before going to press. The takedown was confirmed by the source but they would not speak publicly about it.
UPDATED @ 18:10 Eastern 2018-09-22 – See bottom of story for FSP’s response.

Cody Wilson is a libertarian hero who has made countless international headlines in the last several years, first for releasing plans for the world’s first 3D-printable gun, the “Liberator”. After that, he created the “Ghost Gunner” hardware, which makes machining a gun from scratch almost as easy as pressing “start”. All the while, he has bravely thumbed his nose at the oppressive state and federal governments and recently won a major settlement from the federal government that illegally tried to stop him from engaging in the free speech of sharing his 3d-printable weapon files.

Wilson’s a free speech and gun rights champion, no doubt. No wonder the Free State Project had asked him to speak at their 2019 Liberty Forum convention they’ve held in the wintertime here in New Hampshire for over a decade. It wouldn’t be the first time Wilson’s spoken at the Liberty Forum. Here’s a Forbes article talking about Wilson’s speech from 2014’s Liberty Forum. Here’s a video interview of Wilson at the 2014 Liberty Forum by Free Keene blogger Garret Ean.

Sadly, this week an arrest warrant was issued from Austin, Texas police alleging Wilson had met a sixteen-year-old young lady on a website called SugarDaddyMeet.com, took her to a hotel room, had sex with her, gave her $500, then dropped her off at a Whataburger. In Texas the “age of consent”, is apparently 17, which means they are charging Wilson with felony “sexual assault” for the consensual act he committed with his “victim”.

Within a couple of days, the Free State Project (FSP) quietly removed Wilson’s photo and bio from its place on the front page of their NH Liberty Forum website. Wilson’s photo had occupied the top left speaker’s position on their list of expected speakers. That pretty much means he was their top billed keynote speaker.

Cody's still caught in Google's cache of the FSP's Liberty Forum site.

Wilson’s still caught in Google’s cache of the FSP’s Liberty Forum site.

Poof! Just like that, he was gone. It’s not the first time they’ve tried to memory hole something – there was also the time when they tried to suppress video of a well-produced awards ceremony from Liberty Forum 2016 featuring me as a recipient.

Oops! Turns out the FSP forgot to cleanse their Twitter of their announcement of Wilson’s speaking gig which I included as the top graphic here, in case they take the tweet down.

The Free State Project used to be the reason many of us libertarians, voluntaryists, and liberty-loving anarchists moved to New Hampshire. They were known for throwing two great yearly events, including the previously mentioned Liberty Forum and the Porcupine Freedom Festival in the summertime. However in recent years, the FSP has taken a strong turn away from the principles of liberty by jettisoning any people they can associate with any uncomfortable ideas of sexual liberation. Namely, the crazy idea that teenagers could possibly make decisions for themselves. (more…)