*The post and video below were submitted via the CopBlock.org “Submission Tab” by JP Freeman – of NH Regional CopBlock – but written by Ethan Glover. The post details an interaction the pair had with New Hampshire State Troopers earlier this month.*
by Ethan Glover
CopBlockers are aggressive, police hating scoundrels who deserve to be behind bars because of the way they act towards our public servants.
We’ve heard this criticism a lot, it’s a near constant. From the outside, people have the impression that CopBlockers are doing what they do out of a simple, misled hate for authority. While many CopBlockers suggest people should never talk to police, and never answer any questions, they seem to be pretty talkative towards law enforcement. And for the average person, it is a smart idea to stay as quiet as possible in order to avoid further incrimination. If you want to argue, argue in court. Because doing so with a cop can lead down a frustrating, and even dangerous, path.
So why do CopBlockers do it? Videos from Ademo, Allentown, Lehigh, and NH Regional all show activists taking an assertive and often insulting tone towards police who are acting against the very laws they proclaim to protect. Why can’t they take a softer tone? Try to be persuasive and understanding? In the video below I was pulled over by Trooper Matthew Merrill from Troop C of the New Hampshire State Police. JP Freeman was the passenger and videographer.
At the first false accusation of weaving JP jumps in and tells Trooper Merrill he’s wrong. The Troopers reaction is to ask me to get out of the car because JP is making him “uncomfortable.” This game isn’t as simple as it seems. You’ve got a passenger who’s obviously going to jump on false charges and a driver who hasn’t said a word. Instead of replying with something like, “No, I won’t get out of the car, YOU’RE making ME uncomfortable, you can conduct your stop from here,” and keeping the pressure on, I replied with what many nervous people might in the situation, “Step out of the car?” I gave the Trooper time to respond from there and he did so by opening my door. It’s illegal for him to do this. There is no court that would disagree. At that point it becomes an illegal search and seizure.
The fact that I let him do it, as much as I wanted to respond, made him comfortable with me as a pushover. This means his interrogation training kicked in without interruption, and without issue. With me remaining passive, he had free reign to incriminate. And he would have if JP weren’t there on the opposite end of the scale.
After they refused to get a supervisor, Trooper Brian Belcher patted JP down for “weapons” without ever giving probable cause and put his hands on him before obtaining consent. Or a warrant for that matter.
In the background during this pat down you can hear Merrill telling me that he saw a “bright white light” in his rearview mirror and then a flashing blue and red light. He had just stated that the pullover was for “swerving.” A bullshit catch-all charge that cops get people on while tailgating them and finding any move within a lane.
Considering this, I never had to say a thing about any “lights.” But Merrill was in full interrogation mode with JP temporarily out of the way and he was looking for anything to get me on. During JP’s radio call, he tells me he had no intention of writing a ticket for the swerving. It’s doubtful he said that because I was being so nice. But rather because JP informed him of the presence of cameras.
Remember, this is the guy that literally made up a reason to pull me over and then tried asking me about some lights he saw in his mirror as if I had an illegal light bar on the roof of my car.
Further, he says JP was being disruptive and turning the situation into something it “doesn’t need to be.” The issue remains, there was no reason to pull the car over. No one was drunk, or speeding, and there was no crime being committed. Trooper Merrill had turned the situation into something it didn’t need to be by flipping his car around, catching up to me by driving ~90mph, and dangerously tailgating me at night in a 55mph zone, and then pulling me over.
He knows he can’t deal with JP, that everything JP is saying is correct, and that there are no correct responses. So he does his best to ignore and talk to me, the quiet one who doesn’t seem to be giving him any trouble. (Pssst, JP and I are in cahoots.)
The line of reasoning continues. “I saw blue lights.” – “Why were there blue lights coming from this car?” No matter how many times I say there were none, he keeps asking. The pushovers who don’t repeat themselves, and assert the rights from the beginning, they are the ones who get incriminated over made up laws. They’re the ones who pay the fine without paying attention to what it’s for or what the law says. 95% of people plea guilty or no contest to charges without even paying attention to what’s going on. And Troopers like this know it. That’s why they think they can do whatever they want most of the time. Because people too often act even worse and more subservient than I did in this video.
Guilty pleas lead to cocky, power hungry cops and bullshit revenue collection laws. Let them know they can get away with it, and they will.
The Trooper told me if the light was coming from a phone it’s “fine,” and when I said, “Yeah,” he automatically took that to mean that I’m admitting something. He talks to JP about me while I’m standing right next to him and accuses JP of “changing my story.” (Maybe telepathically?)
You can tell me, “He was going to let you go, he never would have written a ticket, cops are always nice to ME.” But the simple fact is that isn’t always the case. People who say things like that accept traffic tickets as a normal thing that you just pay and get over. Without challenge, the monopoly that is the police system remains unchecked and slowly increases in power. You may think cops are always nice to you, or you’re just a frog in a slowly boiling pot of water.
I was pulled over for a charge based on a lie and interrogated over something totally irrelevant to that false charge making it even more clear that it was a lie to begin with.
Last week, I was written a ticket for parking in an emergency lane. Any normal person would pay it and get over it. Instead, I looked up the law, did some research, JP called the police internal affairs, and without much effort, we found the ticket was clearly wrong and it will be challenged.
How many tickets do you think you’ve received that clearly should have never been written? Maybe you told yourself the fight wouldn’t have been worth the effort.
First, it’s really no big deal. Fighting a legal charge is really nothing but reading off a statute and explaining the situation. If you lose, you pay the ticket that you would have paid anyway. Second, by never challenging bad tickets, you’re encouraging them. You’re empowering corruption and aiding in the damage to the lives of others affected by that corruption.
This is why CopBlockers do what they do. They look for the stops where rights are clearly being violated (and there are a lot of them) and grill cops on those rights until they leave people alone. Police know the law to a reasonable degree, but too often they simply don’t care or get so used to making stops for swerving, or writing tickets for parking without challenge it becomes a reflex. The interrogation you see in this video, where the Trooper won’t take, “No, there are no blue lights,” for an answer, is all reflex. I let him talk, and so he talked. Rudely and with the intention of finding something wrong within an innocent situation.
If you’re not comfortable with pressuring police and keeping them from talking, absolutely stay quiet. But don’t judge those who are simply fighting for others rights for being too aggressive. CopBlock isn’t an anti-policing hate group. It’s a group that believes in community policing and the natural rights of mankind. CopBlocking is about fighting a dangerous form of corruption. The assertiveness you often see in our videos is strategy to us, not nature. Keep that in mind.
**Additional Note by Ademo: I’d like to clarify that “CopBlock” is simply the idea that “Badges Don’t Grant Extra Rights.” It doesn’t stand for anything but that basic concept and the statements made in this post are that of the author’s – Ethan Glover. There are over 250 CopBlock offshoots on the planet and the only commonality is that of “Badges Don’t Not Grant Extra Rights.” How to highlight that, what to do about that and what should replace the current (failed) system of protection (which clearly believes that “Badges DO Grant Extra Rights”) varies from CopBlocker to CopBlock, or CopBlock Group to CopBlock Group.**