Press Releases

 

Entries in Civil Disobedience (83)

Monday
Feb092015

FreeKeeneNews - NH State Rep Commits Cannabis Civil Disobedience in Front of Committee

State Rep Commits Cannabis Civil Disobedience in Front of Committee

At a recent, well-attended and lengthy hearing held by the criminal justice committee at the state house regarding studying cannabis legalization, a state representative from Rockingham, Kyle Tasker, put his freedom on the line.

During his testimony in front of the committee, and in front of a state police officer, Tasker pulled out a bag of cookies, a vaporizer, and what appeared to be a bottle of cannabis tincture, which he claimed came from his "personal stash".

Here is video of Tasker's civil disobedience.

The cop behind him didn't seem to know what to do. After all, he likely wouldn't hesitate to arrest Tasker for possessing cannabis in the streets. However, arresting him in front of the committee would only prove the point of the cannabis freedom activists - that people are arrested all the time for cannabis - something about which the police frequently mislead the legislators.

They like to claim that no one goes to jail for simple cannabis possession in New Hampshire, which is a lie. Even if it were true, people still get arrested and processed all the time, then forced into court and paying fines. It's tyranny, over a plant, and everyone knows it.

While Tasker did admit that the cookies were actually purchased from the kitchen in the state house basement, and it appeared the vaporizer was for nicotine, he wasn't so clear on what was in the tincture bottle, despite questions from the committee. Everyone, except the cop, seemed to be enjoying Tasker's testimony, and multiple committee members took the opportunity to laugh and crack jokes.

Nearly everyone, including the multiple elderly members of the committee seem to be aware of the absurdity of cannabis prohibition, as well as its imminent demise.

I've attended a LOT of these hearings (on medical, decrim, legalization) over the years, and the committee members have become less-and-less hostile, to the point where the committee has become well-educated on the issue. In an exclusive interview with Free Keene, Tasker agreed, "Things have changed a lot since I took office in 2010. Edibles were something snickered about and jokes about brownies were the typical response, with less-enlightened reps bringing up issues like health consequences of smoking unfiltered joints...Before the legal marijuana industry was established no one had ever considered a personal vaporizer, or a drops placed under the tongue. It was not something that was taken seriously by a majority of the committee. Now that we are getting empirical data and the jokes have stopped its much easier to address the policy directly and analyze the pros and cons, the latter of which are few and far between."

Feel free to get in touch with me if you have questions or would like to interview an activist,

Ian Freeman
Blogger, FreeKeene.com
Tuesday
Oct212014

FreeKeeneNews - Cops Attack Hungry Students Long After Pumpkin Fest 2014 Riots 

VIDEO: NH Cops Arrest Students for Walking

The police state did not end after the Pumpkin Fest rioters left.  After I got off-the-air from my live Saturday radio program (on which we discussed the initial Pumpkin Fest 2014 riots), I headed back down to the college. At the time, there was a helicopter broadcasting a message to disperse or be arrested. I arrived at the gateway to Keene State College – Winchester St. to witness a huge throng of police marching down the street. I quickly pulled out my camera and began to record (click for video).

After walking around the nearest building on campus, in full view of the line of police, activists walked onto campus and right back over to Winchester St.  We continued walking west on Winchester and no cops said anything to us there.  However, we again went on campus and came back out on Madison St., on the west end of the college.  Here there were several police standing around the intersection and one of them told me we couldn’t pass, despite college students walking down Winchester St. immediately behind them.
 

The solution was simply to walk 30 feet south and cut through the parking lot, back to Winchester St., wherein we were easily able to walk right past the same officers moments later.

What the hell was the point of these chokepoints anyway?  The riots had been over for a while by now.  It seemed the police were just enforcing arbitrary lines, and not very effectively or consistently.  After checking out the police staging area, which the BEARCAT never actually left (thankfully), we came back to Winchester and Madison, where a very large group of armored and other police had gathered despite nothing at all happening there.  It appeared they were preparing for transport elsewhere, however, before they could take off, three guys walked up from the dorms in search of late-night eats at the Campus Convenience store on the southeast corner.

Despite them being in the exact same place I was just minutes earlier, these young men were told to “GO HOME!” over and over with the demand being shouted by multiple officers.  Within moments, the officers swarmed and attacked the guys (jump right to that part of the video), who had stated they were hungry.  Did the officers behave differently toward them than they did me because there were more of the police present when the guys walked up?

This action by the police, like the arrest of the guy walking down the sidewalk earlier in the day, was completely unnecessary and outrageous.  These guys wanted some munchies, not to eat pavement.  They had not hurt anyone and had not threatened anyone.  This is pure escalation.  Not long after, city boss John MacLean and police chief Ken Meola are seen laughing it up across the street, ironically in front of “Alpha Dogs” eatery.

Stay tuned to Free Keene for the latest on the Pumpkin Fest 2014 Riots.


Feel free to get in touch with me if you have questions or would like to interview an activist,
Ian Freeman
Blogger, FreeKeene.com
Monday
Oct132014

FreeKeeneNews - Keenevention is Coming Up Oct 31st - Nov 2nd

Keenevention is Coming Up Oct 31st - Nov 2nd

This year will be the 2nd annual Keenevention, an intimate yearly gathering of NH liberty activists and people from around the US and world who are considering moving to New Hampshire.  Last year's attendance was over 100 and we are on-track for the same size or larger this year.

Keenevention is organized by Keene-area activists, NOT the Free State Project.  It features all NH-based liberty activists as its speakers and panelists.  Panel discussions will span from legislative activism to direct action.  Keynote speakers will include the president of the Free State Project Carla Gericke, James "Robin Hood" Cleaveland, and jailed cannabis activist Rich Paul.  
Keenevention attendees will also be getting out of the hotel with opportunities to take part in Keene activism like Robin Hooding and Cop Block.  Last year, the city of Keene took its parking enforcers off the streets during Keenevention in response to our plans to have multiple Robin Hooders out-and-about!

Plus, since it's Halloween weekend we'll be having a costume/dance party and other social events.

Sunday
Jun152014

FreeKeeneNews - NH ACLU Takes Side of Keene Chalkers in Letter to City Council 

NH ACLU Head Attorney Speaks In Favor of Chalking

Proposed ban on chalk violates long-held free speech court precedent.  The head attorney of the NH ACLU, Gilles Bissonnette,  has weighed in on the proposed chalking ban for downtown Keene.  In a two-page testimony sent to the Keene city council, Bissonnette lays out how the proposed ban runs afoul of long-held free speech principals, citing multiple supreme court cases:

“fundamental to the continuing vitality of our democracy, for ‘time out of mind, [sidewalks] have been used for purposes of assembly, communicating thoughts between citizens, and discussing public questions.’”

“[a]s a general matter, we have indicated that in public debate our own citizens must tolerate insulting, and even outrageous, speech in order to provide adequate breathing space to the freedoms protected by the First Amendment.”


Bissonnette also encourages police to investigate and prosecute the perpetrators of violence and says that the city should be encouraging free expression rather than suppressing it.  It’s an excellent legal opinion and the city council should read it carefully before they screw up and pass an unconstitutional suppression of free speech.  Stay tuned to Free Keene for the latest on the ridiculous-to-the-max War on Chalk.




Feel free to get in touch with me if you have questions or would like to interview an activist,
Ian Freeman
Blogger, FreeKeene.com
603-513-2449
Wednesday
Jun042014

FreeKeeneNews - Photos of Central Square Attacker Posted, Seeking ID 

 

Man Hospitalized After Being Pushed into Central Sq. Fountain

Free Keene blogger asks for help identifying the attacker. Early last evening in Central Square, a troubling act of violence occurred when a local man, Matthew Oldershaw, known to many as ‘Yankee’, was shoved into the granite fountain and sustained head trauma. This occurred while Yankee was conversing near the fountain with business owner Dorrie O’Meara. An unknown man wearing a blue t-shirt and a Boston Red Sox baseball cap was identified by witnesses in shaky footage from the scene as the aggressor. The man remained on the square several minutes after the attack, associating with another man wearing a bandana under a backwards cap who threatened those holding cameras and claimed ‘gang affiliations’. Yankee was taken away on a stretcher and has since been moved to a hospital outside of Keene for additional treatment. Four KPD units responded, and left the scene without making any arrests. Images of the man have been published by Keene Peaceful Streets. Do you know who this man is, photographed smiling as he walks away after sending another person to the emergency room? What is additionally a sad reflection on society in Keene is the indifference displayed by some bystanders to a seriously injured person laying wounded in front of them. Some people can be seen casually pouring water on nearby chalkings at the same time that friends of the injured person are sobbing for someone to call an ambulance.

More pictures of the attacker are here.

Today’s unfortunate violence comes less than a day following a violent assault involving multiple people the night prior which fortunately left no one injured, but resulted in the theft of one person’s keys, camera, and cell phone. Video of that incident was shared last evening by Keene Peaceful Streets. More complete reports on these incidents are being assembled as footage sourced from various witnesses are uploaded.

Feel free to get in touch with me if you have questions or would like to interview an activist,
Ian Freeman
Blogger, FreeKeene.com
603-513-2449