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. (more…)
Mike Sylvia takes a photo with supporters outside court.
State Representative Mike Sylvia is the liberty “Legislator of the Year” for 2018 according to the NH Liberty Alliance. Of course, because he’s a peaceful threat to the legitimacy of the state, he will inevitably be targeted by state violence. Hence, the people calling themselves the “Town of Belmont” have forced Sylvia into court and are threatening to hit him with $275 a day in fines for allegedly violating the town gang’s arbitrary “zoning” rules.
The town gang’s zoning thug, Steve Paquin, testified under oath that the town selectmen had sent him to target Sylvia and even admitted there had not been a single complaint against Sylvia or his property by any neighbors. The only complaints came from within the town gang’s “selectmen”.
What’s all this about? The gang is alleging Sylvia is living on his property in an RV or the garage. Yes, that’s right. They are threatening him with violence because he’s allegedly living… on his property.
Apparently the main house burned down in 2009 before Sylvia bought it in 2011. The zoning goon claims that because he’s seen Sylvia exiting the door of the RV, observed shoveled walkways during winter, and smoke coming from a chimney on the garage, that he believes Sylvia is living on the property. Apparently living on one’s own property is not allowed within the gang’s territory, unless one has begged for permission from said gang first.
It’s an outrageous case and another example of how zoning is used to target people the town gang doesn’t like and further proof that one doesn’t actually own their property. If another group of strangers can come along with armed men and tell one what one can and can’t do with it, it’s clearly the property of the gang.
Below is the full court hearing on the town gang’s request for a preliminary injunction against Sylvia. Judge James D. O’Neill III took the evidence and testimony under advisement and will issue a ruling on whether or not to grant the town their preliminary injunction before the full trial in civil court. Thanks to Bill D. for the video:
At one point the town attorney tries to call Sylvia to testify and he smartly objected based on the NH Constitution’s Bill of Rights Article Fifteen, which says “no subject shall… be compelled to accuse or furnish evidence against himself”. The judge sustained his objection and he did not have to take the stand, though the robed man didn’t sustain any of Sylvia’s other objections while sustaining nearly all of the town’s attorney, in a typical hearing that favored the state.
All men have certain natural, essential, and inherent rights among which are, the enjoying and defending life and liberty; acquiring, possessing, and protecting, property; and, in a word, of seeking and obtaining happiness.
Zoning is not only unconstitutional, it’s also immoral and should be abolished statewide. Property owners should be free to do what they want, so long as they don’t infringe on their neighbors’ similar rights to do as they please. That would be live free or die. Stay tuned here to Free Keene for the latest on this outrageous property rights violation.
Kauffman, a respected software engineer and entrepreneur currently CEO and founder of the decentralized blockchain-based media protocol called LBRY.io recorded the threats and eventual attack by Manchester Police’s patrolman Ryan Olsen on his smartphone. In the approx two minute video, Kauffman is in his driveway and explains to the viewer that he is being kept in his property against his will by the arbitrary detention by MPD. He is not told he’s a suspect in the homicide investigation but is being prevented from leaving to pick up his son.
When he merely walks down his driveway to investigate what is happening near his own home, Kauffman is threatened by officer Olsen who tells him to “go back that way” and when Kauffman asks on what law he’s basing his orders, Olsen says “I’m not gonna tell you again.” When pressed to cite the statute, Olsen pulls out the old police catch-all, “Disorderly Conduct“. Seconds later, Olsen leaves his post across the street, shouting at Kauffman, then manhandles him after telling him repeatedly to “walk back please”. Please? Is this a request or an order?
Olsen arrests Kauffman, charging him with a “Class A” misdemeanor version of “Disorderly Conduct”, which means Kauffman will be facing down up to a year in jail for his heroic non-cooperation with the oppressive Manchester police state. He was released on PR bail pending arraignment in Manchester District Court.
Despite the awful arrest by the terrible Manchester cops – the worst gang in the state – it was refreshing to see some courageous activist video by a Manchester area activist. Kudos to Jeremy for doing a great job standing up for his freedom to travel and proving that when the police state comes down, we’re all just in a big open air general population prison cell. If only we had more activists like him. May his example inspire others to stand up to the police state. Freedom was never won by begging.
Related news: Keene Cop Block has just released our new updated-for-2018 know-your-rights flyer! It’s a simple rundown of individual rights when dealing with the police. It is intended for distribution across New Hampshire, but may also be useful to other areas. It’s informative and keeps-it-simple. 2018 Edition: Front Side / Back Side. I’ve handed out several hundred of these in just the last two weeks around Keene State College and the students really appreciate the information.
Stay tuned here to Free Keene for developments in this case.
Border Patrol Agent Salutes Camera at NH Internal Oppressive Checkpoint
On Friday, several Forkfest 2018 attendees drove an hour South of Roger’s Campground to I-93 around Woodstock, NH – the site of the repeating temporary internal Border Patrol immigration checkpoints. Based on activist reports, the checkpoint appeared to have been operating that day from noon until 7pm. As is typical of these checkpoints, they were stopping every car to ask occupants if they are “US Citizens“. They also had a dog they were walking up and down the line of waiting cars.
As it turns out, a car full of people with video cameras wasn’t welcome in their secondary screening area. After one agent orders me to pull into their secondary screening for refusing to answer questions, his commanding officer intervenes before I can even cross over a single lane of traffic, and even apologizes for not wasting more of our time with their invasive screening! In hindsight, I should have told him to apologize to all the cars without camera-toting occupants for wasting everyone’s time with their oppressive police state checkpoint. Here’s the ridiculous video:
No one in the car was planning to answer the agents’ questions, given one has a right to remain silent (that the US Supreme Court has now required be invoked in police encounters). Obedience to tyrants only encourages them. Besides, as someone who believes in liberty, I don’t believe in government borders. Peaceful people should be allowed to enter a free country. Of course, we all know by now the United States is not a free country, and in fact has been dropping on the various international freedom rankings.
A few weeks ago in Keene there was a standoff in West Keene to which dozens of cops and state police responded. They brought out the BEARCAT, MRAP, a bomb robot, all kinds of cruisers and trucks, and apparently every state cop from all over – in full camouflage, plus Keene police and Cheshire Sheriffs.
To their credit, the cops didn’t hurt the man in the home this time, but they didn’t need to respond like this. This is a scary level of police militarization and very dangerous to liberty.
Think this was the first time something like this has happened in Keene? Think again. In 2012 police had a similarly ridiculous response to an even less-threatening domestic incident in West Keene where a man stormed off into the woods while armed. Oh and don’t forget the lockdown of part of Downtown prior to that in 2010 over an abandoned backpack full of beer. More recently, who could forget the ridiculous response to the Pumpkinfest Riots the police created in the first place by raiding peaceful day parties.
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.
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.