The Zanesville Police Saga: Stomping Out Freedom of Speech & Lacking Accountability

A little over a week ago, I blogged about Officer Tignor and Moore of the Zanesville (OH) police department, who arrested Herb Newton, life long resident of Zanesville and CopBlocker, for “obstruction of justice.” In that post, I explained how we obtained the footage from the Zanesville Law Director’s Office:

It took us nearly three weeks to get the cameras back from the city prosecutor. We achieved this by first asking for discovery in Herb’s case, followed by a specific request to the prosecutor for copies of the footage and/or cameras themselves and finally a motion to compel (as our second letter was never addressed) with the court. Before the motion to compel could be ruled on, the prosecutor told Herb he could come and reclaim his property. We went to the courthouse to retrieve Herb’s cameras and quickly noticed that one of his cameras (the backup) seemed to be missing the last file. His other camera appeared to have all of the footage on it and this immediately struck me as odd. Why delete one perspective, but not the other, especially since the same person was holding both cameras? It didn’t add up, so I attempted to recover/repair the file.

Herb Newton
Herb Newton

I was able to recover the video file and it was made clear why ‘someone’ had deleted (or attempted to) that file. Not only did the video probably provide the best evidence for Herb that he wasn’t interfering, or obstructing, an investigation, but it also included some bonus footage. Officer Tignor is heard talking with someone on the phone about how “he took care of that problem really quick” and said, “Fuck him, he just wants to run his mouth,” when referring to the arrest of Herb. He also said, “If these people…” but is interrupted by whomever he was on the phone with; it would have been interesting to hear what Tignor was going to say.

In light of this information, I sought comment from Emily Tarbert and the Zanesville Police Department, via email. I even called Emily, but to this day have not received any comment or communication back from either. That’s why, as you’ll see in the video below, myself and DEO decided to wait outside the Zanesville Police Department during the change from 1st shift to 2nd shift. Our primary goal was to talk to Tignor because he was the one with the video camera in his possession, but we also sought comment from Officer Moore or Sgt. McCoy. McCoy is a 20 year veteran of the Zanesville Police Department, whom I had this conversation with after being released early from my contempt charge and whom I also blogged about after some of his posts on Facebook were brought to my attention, was the supervisor the night Herb was arrested. In fact, he transported Richie, who was arrested for yelling at Tignor while he took Herb to the police cruiser, to the city jail. While we waited to see one of the “ZPD Trio” – McCoy, Tignor and Moore as I’ve dubbed them – we were able to ask some of the other Zanesville Police officers if they’d seen the video and what thoughts they had on it. See video below.

That IMG_1371night, Moore had off and we were unable to locate Tignor or he was avoiding us. Since he has the luxury of parking in the back of the station, as well as taking his government funded cruiser home, it was hard to get a comment from him during shift change. It did allow us another opportunity to talk to some of the other ZPD officers, who aren’t able to hide in back and take government vehicles home.  Most were NOT interested in giving me any information, even their badge numbers, let alone their own thoughts on Herb’s deleted footage, but a few did. Officer Headers stated, “If that’s what happened,” in response to me asking if he thought the arrest was ‘messed up.’ Other ZPD officers stated they don’t mind being recorded and have come to accept it; hopefully that spreads because that didn’t seem to be Moore’s position when he told Herb, “We’re out here interviewing a female that claims she got raped and YOU’RE VIDEOTAPING US.” Notice how he didn’t say videotaping important information or accusations towards those being accused of a crime. Nope, he said, “And you’re videotaping US.”

It seems that Moore might be one of the few, as other ZPD officers were fine with people filming them, which made me think that maybe some of these guys were alright – that maybe, just maybe, the whole city government isn’t corrupt and willing to protect a few bad cops who delete footage, even if just mistakenly. Is the whole city apparatus willing to protect a few who made a mistake? Or who did this deliberately? Time will tell.

We decided to head down the Municipal Building in the morning. Our goal was to chalk the sidewalk all around the building to bring awareness to Herb’s case and the fact that someone in that building had attempted to destroy evidence. I knew it was unlikely, but we were hoping to finally get some answers. Instead, our freedom of speech fell victim to the Zanesville Fire Department’s tasks of keeping the sidewalk clean; seriously, see video below.

I guess my momentary thought that not all employees of the Zanesville City government were willing, or eager to, step on our rights went out the window when someone ordered the police, firefighters, and court bailiffs to stomp on ours so blatantly. Obviously, they complied and stood by to protect the firefighters, NOT first amendment rights that so many CopSuckers claim the police and military risk their lives for us to have, while they washed off the sidewalk. Heck, two Zanesville Police officers watched a woman dump half her Sprite drink into our chalk bucket. By law, that’s destruction of property, since that wasn’t her chalk and I’m the victim, but neither officer did anything about that – not that I wanted them to. Yet, it’s interesting to point out because chalking the sidewalk has no victim while destroying – or even attempting to – my property (and Herb’s video footage) does, yet the focus was on the sidewalk? Why?

Had we chalked, “We love the ZPD,” or, “ZPD is our favorite police,” would the hoses have come out? Probably not. This means that the hoses were sent out because someone didn’t like WHAT we were writing. This is an infringement on our right to freedom of speech, according to the laws the people in that very building claim to uphold; but, more importantly, IMO, it’s an attempt to hide the truth. If what we were saying was clearly a lie, if the police could prove they didn’t delete footage, then why not just provide the truth? Instead, they provided cops, bailiffs and firefighters to stomp all over my ability to provide truth. Furthermore, this seemed to upset the “Trio” who spent the next day early in their shift making several passes by Herb’s house. That’s how the video below came about, which provides another look into who is trying to provide truth versus those who are trying to hide it. Watch the video below and ask yourself, “Who’s hiding something here and why?”

I know the CopSuckers are all going to say that this will play out in court, that the police can’t talk during an open case and blah, blah. I know what excuses you have and I don’t care. Tignor and Moore arrested a man because they didn’t like that he would film and swear at them. Herb’s way might not be the best way to film police, but he’s still allowed to film police and he’s supposed to have freedom of speech. Even if you think Herb should have been arrested, the police still committed a crime when someone tampered with the evidence, but no one seems to care about that. No one seems to care that Tignor said, “Fuck him,” and Moore said, “After all you’ve been doing, you’re going to jail on this one.” Those two statements clearly show both officers were biased towards Herb. This is how you stomp out freedom of speech and accountability, Zanesville. banner-store

Herb has two upcoming court appearances. I know many of us plan to attend to show our support for Herb, filming the police, and to stand against corrupt cops. You can also join us at 8:00 am on June 2nd or 8:00 am on June 10th at the Zanesville Municipal Court (332 South St. Zanesville, OH 43701). Feel free to bring chalk, signs, and cameras! Oh, and the judge really likes when people wear hats into his courtroom. Maybe we can get 100 of us to show up and protest the illegal hat ban in the courtroom? Make the most out of this court appearance?


Ademo Freeman

was born and raised in Wisconsin, traveled the country in a RV dubbed "MARV" and is an advocate of a voluntary society, where force is replaced with voluntary interactions. He's partaken in projects such as, Motorhome Diaries, Liberty on Tour, Free Keene, Free Talk Live and is the Founder of ____________________________________________________________________________ If you enjoy my work at, please, consider donating $1/month to the CopBlock Network or purchasing Gear from the store. ____________________________________________________________________________ Find Ademo at these social networks: Facebook Twitter Youtube