Liberty Lobby 2018 – Week 1 Videos

DISCLAIMER: I’m not actually part of Liberty Lobby (though I’ve donated my time to help). I don’t get paid to talk to the legislature. Last year Darryl W Perry launched Liberty Lobby (making him the first crowd-funded lobbyist) and I accompanied him to Concord’s state house and recorded a bunch of videos of our various testimony before the state house committees on a variety of issues. You can see them all on the Free Keene YouTube channel.

While we were both in Concord last week, the first week of the 2018 legislative session, we were actually never in the same committee hearing. He attends the election committee hearings (here’s his week wrapup post), and I’m frequently in criminal justice and judiciary committees. So, here are the videos from the hearings I attended:

HB 1566 – This is the most ridiculous video of all of them from Week 1. Keene’s worst state rep, Delmar Burridge, a lover of big, oppressive government, proposed a bill to restrict open carry in multiple places statewide. I spoke against it and he was literally bouncing in his seat with excitement when I pointed out how it was wrong to try to force societal change from the top down. He disagrees, of course. You can jump straight to my testimony here. Here’s the full hearing video:

HB 1778 – State Rep Dick Marple proposes a bill to abolish driver licensing except for commercial purposes. I spoke in favor. This is the full hearing: (more…)

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.

Civil Disobedience Thanksgiving Held at Keene, NH Mosque Under City Threats

Activists' Civil Disobedience Thanksgiving at the Un-permitted MALIC Center in Keene, NH

Civil Disobedience Thanksgiving at the Un-permitted MALIC Center in Keene, NH

Will Coley, new mover to Keene and imam of the soon-to-open MALIC Center – Keene’s new mosque – recently made headlines over the city’s demand he obey them and ask permission to exercise his right to religion. Here’s the Union Leader story and the NHPR piece about the conflict.

Apparently undeterred by their recent, unsurprising loss at the NH Supreme Court for their attempt to crush the free speech rights of the Robin Hooders for feeding expired parking meters, the City of Keene gang is now trying to crush the right to religion and free assembly.

Will originally made the mistake of trying to ask the city gang’s blessing to install a sign. He should have known that asking for permission to exercise a right never ends well. The answer is almost always no, and fees and hoops galore are demanded by the bureaucrats. Unfortunately, despite telling the city gang that the sign was going up, after consulting with the local Muslims he is serving, they asked him to try to go through the city’s demands for the sign permission slip. So, the sign is not up.

MALIC Center Imam Will Coley Speaks to the Committee

MALIC Center Imam Will Coley Speaks to City Committee About Immigration

However, now that an inch has been given, the city gang is ready to take a mile of obedience, fees, meetings, and paperwork. In a letter addressed to Will by the city’s “Planning Director” Rhett Lamb, Lamb tells Will he’ll need a “change of use” for the building and an “certificate of occupancy” to gather in the structure, neither of which have anything to do with a sign. However, they have everything to do with submitting to a group of strangers who think they have a right to control your life and property.

Will has told me that the local Muslim community may be willing to bend on the sign issue, but not on the right of assembly. No one should ever have to ask permission to exercise their right. A mosque or church is created because we say so, not by asking some officious bureaucrat’s permission. The right to property and to seek happiness is a fundamental right ostensibly protected by the New Hampshire constitution – the very same document the people calling themselves “the City of Keene” supposedly operate underneath. Here’s its Article 2 regarding property: (more…)

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…)