In June (2011) I was arrested, with several others, while protesting at the Manchester Police Station. The group was there due to concerns about four Manchester Police Officers who were cleared by the Attorney General of beating Chris Micklovich outside a bar. During the peaceful protest some folks, myself included, decided to chalk the sidewalk and building.
A building that is owned by the public and “graffiti” (as most were charged with) that was done with chalk. Chalk that’s basically safe enough to eat – according to Crayola. Early into the protest about eight officers showed up but quickly left with no arrest or claims that chalking was illegal. They did tired to tell people protesting that “more than three people on the sidewalk was in violation of municipal codes.” They failed to realize, until it was pointed out to the officers, that there were more than three Manchester Police Officers on the sidewalk at the same time. I recall thinking, “Wow, the police aren’t going to make a big deal out of this, good for them. Let’s go back to chalking.” And for the most part that’s what happened.
That is until John Patti, also an employee of the Manchester Police, decided to ask people, myself included, for ID’s. As seen in the video (below), Patti approached me and said, “Do you have ID?” I completely ignored him because as far as I know I’m not required to produce ID on command. The video shows that Patti didn’t inform me that he was investigating a crime at all, he merely requested my ID. Something you can legally refuse to give to police, unless you’re operating a vehicle or are suspected of a crime. Patti didn’t continue to question me either, instead, he turned his attention towards another activist chalking nearby.
Since Patti merely requested to see my ID, that I’m not legally required to carry or produce, I thought I should leave and said, “Tell him you don’t talk to Cops” to the other activist being questioned as I passed by. That’s when Patti told me I needed to stay there, which he says was “a lawful” order. Once Patti touched my body I went limp. I didn’t refuse, fight or struggle during my arrest nor was any person (including those attempting to handcuff me) at any risk while I was ‘being arrested.’ Yet, the Manchester charged me with two counts of resisting. One for placing myself on the ground for them, by going limp, and second for them carrying me into the station. So be aware, it’s illegal to assist the police or to make them work harder in Manchester, NH. (I’m also charged with criminal mischief and graffiti)
Confusing isn’t it?
Well it gets more confusing. Pete and I recently moved to the Manchester Area to better defend ourselves from these bogus charges and to highlight them to the public. We started doing that the other day when Sarah Palin and the “Tea Party Express” rolled through Manchester. About a dozen or so activists jumped into MARV and headed down to the park where several folks were gathering, awaiting Sarah’s speech.
Just as Sarah, who’s not nearly as hot in person – go figure, started her speech I spotted four Manchester Police Officer watching the crowd. I decided to head over and chalk the sidewalk – which is also public property, like the police station sidewalk/building – to see if they would arrest me. They didn’t but one gave me a very confused look when I asked him if chalking is illegal. So, congratulations Manchester Police, you’re officially inconsistent with your enforcement of laws. That or were the arrest on June 4th about what was being written and not where it was written.
“How Many Have Been Killed by Manchester PD?” Those were the words written on a wall, behind the Fallen Officers Memorial, outside the police station that, IMO, prompted Patti to start demanding ID’s. So much for Freedom of Speech right?
A few others things to consider while watching the video:
- When did I resist arrest?
- Was I legally required to give Patti my ID?
- Does chalk cause ‘damage’ or is it graffiti?
- If chalking a public sidewalk (made of concrete) in a public park isn’t illegal, then why is chalking a public building (also made of concrete) illegal?
- Do you think the arrest on June 4th were due to the chalking or what was being said?
- Is this the most effective use of tax dollars?
- Does the punishment fit the crime? (Note: I’ve spent about 45 hrs in jail for this already)