Heading Back to Greenfield, MA

Five months ago, after another productive day hammering-out Liberty On Tour logistics (this time from the lone ‘bucks in Manch-Vegas) Ademo Freeman and I packed our gear, climbed into MARV and drove to Greenfield, MA* to bail out Keene-based friends and activists Rich Paul, Mark Capuzzo & Jackie Lemieux.

We’re amateur video documentaries. We record everything and this quick errand to MA was no different. We entered the Franklin County Jail lobby, approached the counter, explained that we wanted to bail out a friend, were told that we couldn’t film, had a conversation**, were told that we could film, returned 15min later with bail money and then were told that we no longer had the “right” to film.

We expressed our desire to complete the bail-out process and continued to document the arbitrary and flagrant abuse of claimed authority by those who wearing badges. Soon, handcuffs were roughly applied***, we went limp and stated that though we would not actively resist, we would not assist them in their actions and we were carried to separate squad cars. We were ordered to comply, to walk, to speak, to roll our pinky finger in the correct rectangular box on the cardstock fingerprint ID card. Throughout the entire process we asked pointed questions that we hoped would resonate and cause those mistreating us to realize that it’s never right to use aggressive force****.

Yet, thanks to the reality of this “necessary core function of government” that so many still actively or passively support, Ademo and I were carried to cold cages, held overnight and charged with a total of three felonies and five misdemeanors. What did we do to warrant such treatment? Who had we harmed? Do our actions warrant us being kept in cages to the tune of $46,000 per year?

On July 29th, accompanied by 10 friends from Keene and a couple local activists, we returned to Greenfield for Ademo’s preliminary hearing. Smeg (of LibertyFlair.com, recently harassed by TSA) and I were berated for not standing when “his honor” entered. I noted that respect is based not arbitrarily granted based on someone’s title and that we’d show them respect once we received respect.

Ademo plead not guilty through his alphabetically-chosen court-appointed libertarian-friendly lawyer. A few days later I proceeded pro se and pled the same. The court demanded I sign their form waiving the “right” to a court-appointed attorney. I declined, informing them that I didn’t want to further burden taxpayers and that I’d never signed a contract with them agreeing to the man-made legislation they attempted to shackle me with. Signing their paper would only grant them and the “rules” that had wrongly landed us in a cage, legitimacy.

Last month, after finally calling me back, Mike McHale, who works in the office of the “District Attorney”, requested that I return to MA weeks ahead of our next scheduled appearance (Jan. 10th) so I could inform a judge about my stance in-person. I declined, pointing out the burden this would impose on me. Our attempts to speak directly with the judge on the phone were stonewalled.

In another conversation with McHale just before we left Tallahasse for Jackson, WI, I was told that if I didn’t have a serious criminal history I probably wasn’t looking at hard time. I told McHale that the issue wasn’t how much time I was looking at but the fact that I was even looking at any time since it was those wearing “Greenfield Police Department” who were the aggressors and Ademo and I who had clearly had our rights violated.

So, next Monday, January 10th, we’ll be back in Greenfield – Ademo for trial and me for pre-trial.

Why, since Ademo and I were arrested on the same day, are we at different stages in this process? That’s a good question, and one Greenfield bureaucrats never have answered. The actions of an objective and fair system?

Perhaps even more demonstrative of the unaccountability we’ve experienced is the refusal to share with us the footage captured on our cameras (which proves our story) and cell phones, despite Ademo’s motion (right), completed as instructed (his phone number covered by a Shire Silver card), and the fax I sent a month ago requesting such property.

If you’re in the area and want to join us on the 10th, here’s a Facebook Event with all the relevant info. If you can’t make it but still want to share your thoughts with those who claim to “protect” us, call any/all of those below.

David F. Guilbault / Todd M. Dodge
“Chief, Greenfield PD” / “Sgt., Greenfield PD.”
321 High Street
Greenfield, MA 01301
p. 413.773.5411
f. 413.774.6969

Michael A. McHale
“Dist. Atty. Off. (Franklin Co.)”
13 Conway St.
Greenfield, Massachusetts
p. 413.774.3186
f. 413.773.3278

Michael Habel
“Sgt., Mass State Patrol”
289 Mohawk Trail
Shelburne Falls, MA 01370
p. 413.586.9225
f. 617.727.6874

William F. Martin
“Mayor, Greenfield”
14 Court Square, 2nd Floor
Greenfield, MA 01301
p. 413-.772.1560
f. 413.772.1519

Frederick Macdonald
“Sheriff, Franklin County”
160 Elm Street Greenfield, MA 01301
p. 413.774.4014
f. 413.774.3525

More info:

*Aware of MA’s draconian victim-disarmament legislation, we queried the supportive Keene411 community en route to see if I could leave with someone a little bit of ammo and a couple of disassembled, cased and locked firearms. We received some responses and left the property with a friend along our route. We had no intention of having any less-than-civil interactions with anyone in Greenfield, but decided to be on the safe side, well-aware of the propensity of those with badges to claim the right to search MARV without our consent.

While I don’t believe an individual must first gain permission from someone else to defend themselves, our short jaunt was not intended to be a fight about the right to keep and bear arms. But, if you read the second bulleted-link above, you’ll see that those wearing “Greenfield Police Department” badges not only broke into MARV but are now threatening me with years behind bars based on supposedly finding some ammo. Who though, was the victim? Does this punishment fit the alleged crime? Is this a good use of resources?

**We pointed out that they were recording us through little cameras housed under black domes scattered across the ceiling. Also, that though there were posted signs that said cell phone use was banned, video taping was not mentioned. The same was true of the policies listed in their official tri-fold pamphlet (of which I still have a copy). Also, and most telling, we asked how an employee (those with badges) could restrict the peaceful actions of the employer (taxpayers). We never received a satisfactory answer.

***Filming those who work for us, especially when they’re on the clock, is merely a safeguard to hold everyone accountable. If it’s wrong for you or I to do certain actions it’s not suddenly just for a stranger with a gun to engage in them based on text on paper (that we’ve never agreed to) or a command by someone with more metals on their chest. Transparency is powerful. So is striking the root and advocating the ideal – complete individual liberty coupled with responsibility. Negative rights.

Most people today would admit that their local, state or federal police “service” is far from exceptional. Most readily admit drug prohibition is a failure. Yet, thanks to government schools and pro-State misinformation peddled by the mainstream media, many fail to see what’s causing and compounding these problems – the granting of authority to an organized criminal monopoly (the US government) that claims that the “legitimate” right to use force.

I believe most people are good and thus, once exposed to the idea that aggressive force by anyone (including those wearing badges) is wrong, many will realize that the goals they currently try to reach (peace and prosperity) are untenable through the mechanisms of the State. And that if they want to live according to what they know is right, according to natural law rather than man-made legislation, they’ll cease to grant any legitimacy to that institution based on violence. As Carl Watner, the author of my favorite book I Must Speak Out, says “If one takes care of the means the end will take care of itself.”

****Many of them know it wrong, yet their blinded by their faith in the State. Many note that they’re “just doing their job.” That’s one reason we communicate these ideas with those who actively facilitating the loss of our freedom of movement. Because they’ll stop when they realize it is them alone that is responsible for their actions.

After my booking process concluded (which finished with two grown male strangers removing my pants while I sat on a cold concrete slab in a cage) the man about to slide shut the heavy metal door told me “I’m with you more than you know”. My response: “Then quit your job.” He worried that those close to him wouldn’t understand. I told him, that if they loved and respected him, they’d try to understand what influenced his actions. And either way he’d be acting in accordance with what he knows is just. I pointed out the supported network around Bradley Jardis, who walked away from his job as a cop in New Hampshire based on principle. Also, I pointed out to this man standing in the doorway that if he has the skills and interest, chances are that he could still work in the security field, but do so for those willing to pay.

Further, MARV was parked blocks away and was totally unrelated to our supposed illegal behavior yet Sgt. Todd M. Dodge and his men wanted into my vehicle and our home. They attempted to get us to admit ownership. At one point Ademo asked Sgt. Todd M. Dodge, after he threatened to rip off MARV’s door to gain entry if we didn’t cooperate, what he’d do if someone broke into his house. Dodge responded: “I’d fucking kill them”. Yet Dodge orders his men to enter and they comply. And these individuals work for us?


Pete Eyre

Pete Eyre is co-founder of CopBlock.org. As an advocate of peaceful, consensual interactions, he seeks to inject a message of complete liberty and self-government into the conversation of police accountability. Eyre went to undergrad and grad school for law enforcement, then spent time in DC as an intern at the Cato Institute, a Koch Fellow at the Drug Policy Alliance, Directer of Campus Outreach at the Institute for Humane Studies, Crasher-in-Chief at Bureaucrash, and as a contractor for the Future of Freedom Foundation. In 2009 he left the belly of the beast and hit the road with Motorhome Diaries and later co-founded Liberty On Tour. He spent time in New Hampshire home, and was involved with Free Keene, the Free State Project and The Daily Decrypt.