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Entries in Keene (73)


FreeKeeneNews - Robin Hooders Victorious in Court AGAIN - City Denied Injunction 

Court DENIES City of Keene’s Injunction Request Against Robin Hooders

Robin Hood of KeeneIt has been a long road, but thanks to free speech attorney Jon Meyer and judge John C Kissinger of the Cheshire superior court, Keene's Robin Hooders are again victorious! Nearly two years ago, the same court dismissed the two cases brought against the charitable meter-feeders, alleging we were "threatening, intimidating, and harassing" their parking enforcement officers and demanding a 50ft floating, constitution-free buffer zone to protect them.

The city appealed to the NH supreme court which ultimately upheld the superior court's dismissal except for one part. They affirmed the lower court's ruling to dismiss based on free speech grounds, but said the superior court needed to look at the request for the "buffer zone" injunction separately from the allegations of "tortious interference", "civil conspiracy", "negligence", and the demand for financial compensation, all of which the city failed to prove to the court's satisfaction.

Thankfully, the superior court agreed with attorney Meyer's arguments and denied the city's request for any injunction against us whatsoever! This effectively kills their case, unless they decide to continue spending ridiculous amounts of taxpayer money to appeal this latest failure to the NH supreme court.

James Cleaveland, Attorney Jon Meyer, Ian FreemanThe city, which had originally wanted a 50 foot floating buffer zone around each enforcer that would prevent all speech and recording by the Robin Hooders, had whittled that down over the 2.5 years this has been in court to a 5-10ft zone that would only be temporary and only if the parking enforcer requested said distance from the Robin Hooder. Mind you, we generally do not wish to be so close to them - it's best to fill meters at a greater distance, so as to have enough time to fill the meter and leave the Robin Hood calling card on the windshield, BEFORE the parking enforcer catches up to us and gets ahead. That would mean she could successfully write a ticket if she gets ahead, so having distance is my goal, but the enforcer is constantly trying to close that gap, so sometimes we do get within ten feet. That would mean that such an injunction (besides being unconstitutional) would also prevent us from Robin Hooding, as anytime the enforcer managed to close the gap, we'd be subject to arrest for "contempt of court".

In a fifteen-page order issued on 11/20, Kissinger writes of the city's request for injunction:

The Court cannot conceive of any more narrow or alternative relief that would provide any meaningful protection to the PEOs without running afoul of the Respondents' First Amendment rights...the government interests here are not sufficient to warrant an infringement on the Respondents' First Amendment rights. Any injunction requiring a buffer zone of any meaningful distance would require a significant change in the method used by the Respondents to disseminate their protected speech.

So, despite the city's interests in their parking enforcement continuing unabated, their significantly-reduced proposal for injunction is still beyond what is constitutionally permissible, and further, the court could not think of any lesser restrictions that would pass constitutional muster.

Kissinger, in his conclusion, does remind the city that if Robin Hooders' conduct is rising to the level of violating criminal statutes, that they can bring such charges. Of course, the reason they never have brought criminal harassment or assault charges is because Robin Hooders are peaceful. There is zero evidence of "harassment, threatening, or intimidating" - the claims the city has long libeled us with throughout this lawsuit.

Sheriff of NottinghamIn a classic case of projection, the people in this who are actually harassing, threatening, and intimidating others are the parking enforcers. They harass, threaten, and intimidate the good motorists of Keene six days a week by giving them threatening tickets for just trying to do some business downtown. Those tickets threaten, intimidate, and harass their victims into paying their fines so as to avoid the threat of having their car stolen. Talk about intimidation! This is why Robin Hood of Keene exists - we are here to save people from having to deal with the city's threats. That's always been the primary motivation, at least for me. I certainly don't speak for everyone.

If the parking enforcers don't like being called out for their threatening, intimidating, and harassing behavior, they should get jobs in the productive economy. Until the city council ends the parking department and turns over the spaces to downtown businesses to decide how to administer, per market forces, Robin Hooding will continue to rescue peaceful motorists from the threats of the city government. The city has 30 days to appeal this latest failure. Stay tuned here to Free Keene for the latest.



FreeKeeneNews - Keene's Bitcoin Vending Machine Celebrates One Year of Serving Community 

Keene's Bitcoin Vending Machine Celebrates First Year of Operation

Keene Bitcoin Vending MachineOn November 5th, 2014, the Shire Free Church launched Shire Bitcoin Vending when we placed our first Bitcoin Vending Machine at 101 Deals thrift store in Keene at 661 Marlboro St.

In April of 2015, the Keene machine was upgraded to the Lamassu brand Bitcoin Vending Machine. Lamassu is based in the Shire and run be Free State Project early movers. The original unit, the Skyhook brand, is used for special events.

Now, I'm happy to announce we have passed the one year mark of having a publicly-accessible BVM operating in Keene!

Our customers range from young to old from all across the Northeast, because sadly, the Keene BVM is the only publicly accessible BVM (or ATM) in all of ME, NH, VT, MA, CT, RI, and Upstate NY. New York, the Empire State, has cracked down on the bitcoin industry there, resulting Albany and Buffalo losing their machines in 2015 and for some reason all the units listed on the Coin ATM Radar site for Boston are shut off or gone (at least that's what the customers who drive to Keene from Boston have told us.) Hopefully this will change, as not everyone is willing to drive for hours to purchase bitcoin.

It's important to note that the Keene Bitcoin Vending Machine is not an ATM, though many confuse the two terms. The machine vends bitcoins for cash. It does not do the reverse. The machine is stocked with bitcoin (click to see our wallet's status and all transactions) and sells from that stock. The BVM is not making buys on an exchange. Machines that do that have ridiculous identification requirements. Your bitcoin is your business and as a customer of the church, your privacy is respected. (While our machine does not require identification, there are security cameras monitoring the store premises.)

Come on out to the store and try the machine at 661 Marlboro Street (Route 101) in Keene, six days per week. Hours are Tuesday - Saturday 10a-6p and Sunday 11a-5p.



FreeKeeneNews - VIDEO - State Rep to Activist: You Have No Right to Record Me! 

In a video recorded on Keene’s Main St. Sunday evening, State Rep Gladys Johnsen calls Keene Cop Block‘s JP Freeman “dumb” and tells him that he has no right to record video of her! This, after being pulled over by KPD’s officer Leslie Ainsworth – kudos to KPD for not giving the state rep special treatment. Here’s the video of Johnsen’s shocking behavior. Here's the video of Johnsen's shocking behavior:

Johnsen  (contact info here) doesn’t appear to understand the NH Constitution’s Bill of Rights‘ Article 22 which protects the freedom of the press or Article 8 which says government agents will be open and accountable.

This is certainly not how a state representative should behave, especially in front of a camera. You’d think she’d know something about the freedom to record, considering she co-sponsored the bill to mandate police body cameras (currently retained in committee). However, her bill does not allow the public access to the police footage, which is a huge issue and goes to show that Johnsen is just an arch-statist to the core. Her NH Liberty Alliance report card for 2014 ranks her as a “D-“. In the yet-to-be released 2015 rankings, Johnsen scored as “Dereliction of Duty”, meaning she missed 70% or more of the NHLA’s scored votes.

For the raw footage of the encounter, click here.


Office of the State Fire Marshal – Keene Housing Project – Mechanical Licensing Investigation 



John J. Barthelmes, Commissioner


Division of Fire Safety

Office of the State Fire Marshal

J. William Degnan, State Fire Marshal

New Hampshire State Fire Marshal J. William Degnan announces a licensing compliance investigation at 57 Ralston Street in Keene, New Hampshire has resulted in citations.


On Monday April 6, 2015, a mechanical inspector from the NH State Fire Marshal’s Office – Bureau of Building Safety & Construction issued citations to two individuals who were found performing unlicensed plumbing work within the City of Keene.


The individuals were identified as Mr. Corey T. Allen of Westfield, MA and Michael G. Mulcare of Hatfield, MA. Both individuals are employed by DF Plumbing and Mechanical of Belchertown, MA. Both individuals will be arraigned at 8:30AM on June 10, 2015 in the Keene Circuit Court.


As part of routine compliance inspections in the Keene area, inspectors discovered that two of four individuals working on the housing project job site were not properly licensed to perform plumbing work in the State of New Hampshire.  In August of 2011, and again in May of 2012, DF Plumbing and Mechanical had received written warnings for similar licensing compliance issues at other housing projects in Keene, NH.


Marshal Degnan would like to warn all citizens of the dangers and health risks associated with improperly installed plumbing systems, and cautions everyone to make sure that the contractor they choose has the proper qualifications and respective licenses for the requested work.


If you have had any plumbing work performed recently, and question if the work completed required credentials, please consult your local building department or our office at the numbers listed below.


Any further inquiries can be directed to the NH State Fire Marshal’s Office – Bureau of Building Safety, Inspector Donald Carpia Jr., or Chief Inspector Jeffrey Cyr at (603) 223-4289.


FreeKeeneNews - Video of Keene "Swatting" 

Video of Keene Police "Swatting"


Thursday night Keene police received a call from a man claiming to be holding hostages at gunpoint inside 39 Central Square. As a result, at least eight officers (some toting M4 ricfles) surrounded the building. Later, the BEARCAT rolled up and at least eight more officers, armed up with SWAT gear, piled out and entered via the front door.

Multiple liberty activists responded to the scene after local independent journalist Jared Goodell posted the news that armed police were on Central Square. (Goodell’s personal facebook profile is quickly becoming a go-to destination for breaking news in Keene.) Keene police kept the initial call from the alleged hostage-taker off of their two-way radio system, in what was the beginning of a campaign to preclude the public from actually knowing anything about what was happening in their midst.

All people in the streets knew was the police were hiding behind brick walls, brandishing guns and observing the block of buildings that includes 39 Central Square. To their credit, the Keene police were not preventing people from taking the risk of walking downtown, but they were at the same time not informing anyone about the risk that may have been present.

When asked, multiple pairs of the officers surrounding the building would deny any knowledge of why they were there. Why lie? After I asked three sets of officers what was happening, I finally got the barest minimum of information out of Michael “Pepper” Kopcha. He admitted there may be a situation in the building, but again, gave no information as to what danger may be present.

There are arguments both for and against how they responded, but there’s no good reason to keep people in the dark about what is happening, especially if they want people to believe they are “serving and protecting” them. An argument favoring their response tactics is that you can’t be too careful in a hostage situation and therefore the police responded appropriately. An argument against their tactics is that they had no real intel on what was happening besides the claim of someone on the phone, and as a result inconvenienced everyone in the building as they went room-to-room, floor-by-floor and cleared the premises.

What if the caller wanted to see how police would respond and used the data collected to walk them into a trap next time? What if the caller wanted to distract the police from an actual crime being committed across town? How many officers were available for other calls when nearly twenty were on-scene? Further, what if the caller was actually with the police and made the false call to give police a reason to demand access to peoples’ homes?

The standard explanation is that these “swatting” calls are made by some teenage or twenty-something prankster who just wants to harass the target location. Of course, with adrenaline-fueled cops, these swatting pranks could cost the building’s inhabitants their lives, if, for instance, a trigger-happy cop shoots someone for holding a camera the cop thought was a gun.

The caller in this case, according to the Sentinel, claimed to have hostages, gave a location, demanded money, and hung up. Is that justification for this level of response? What do you think the proper response should be to a phoned-in claim of hostages being held at gunpoint?

Whatever the proper response, the Keene police should inform the people of what is going on rather than putting people at risk from their ignorance.

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