Greenfield, MA PD Arrest & Intimidate Activists For Filming

Short Overview

(written by Adam Mueller and edited by Pete Eyre)

On Thursday, July 1st 2010 Pete and I headed into the Franklin County Jail to bail out Rich Paul, who had been arrested the day before. We were initially told that we could not film in the lobby by Franklin County Sheriff’s but later were told we could do so. We left and 15 minutes later returned with the bail money and Pete’s ID but were then told that we were not permitted to film on the property. We stated that public officials can be recorded while conducting their duties, that no one in the building had any expectation of privacy and that we had our cameras as a means of protection as well as accountability for everyone involved. It was those with badges who then took action against us for standing our ground and doing what we believe is right – actions that did not harm anything.

Sgt. Todd M. Dodge placed myself and Pete under arrest without disclosing what we were actually being arrested for. We were taken to the Greenfield Police Department where we were abused, finger printed, photographed, stripped and had our personal possessions stolen from us. The police, under the watch of Sgt. Dodge, threw us into a cage without blankets, a phone call or telling us exactly what we were being charged with. The jail, with concrete floors, was extremely cold. We were monitored via a camera in the ceiling. We did anything we could to keep warm and to occupy our minds/time. We did chants of ‘no victim no crime,’ sang songs, preached libertarianism and even did a workout.

Finally after 12 + hours in our cages we were taken to court to face a judge. We finally learned what our charges were: felony wiretapping and resisting arrest for us both Pete also has felony firearm/ammo and VIN manipulation charges. We were released on personal recognizance and have court dates on July 29th and Aug 2nd.

Feel free to read the more below and stay tuned to for updates here at CopBlock.org.

UPDATE: http://www.copblock.org/greenfield-ma-revisited

Exhaustive Overview

(written by Pete Eyre and edited by Adam Mueller)

Background

  • On Wed., June 30th in the afternoon our friends Rich Paul and Mark Capuzzo and their friend Jackie were arrested while traveling through MA by the “State Police”. They were charged with allegedly having marijuana and a handgun.
  • On Thur. July 1st at 2:55pm I posted the following to my Facebook: “Leaving Manch in MARV w/ Adam M. Mueller Ⓥ & heading to Greenfield, MA to hopefully help free Rich Paul & Mark Capuzzo from their cage. If you can help pay their bail pls send $ through PayPal to “ladiesoflibertyalliance@gmail.com” and Allison Gibbs Ⓥ will coordinate w/ us. Thanks in advance!”
  • Knowing the harshness of man-made legislation in MA toward victim disarmament we put out a call via Porc411 before leaving the ‘shire and asked if anyone would let us leave some property with them. Thanks to some friends this was done.
  • We arrived in Greenfield and parked MARV along the curb on Conway Rd. facing south. There were no signs indicating that our location violated any man-made legislation (we later went back and took pictures of the area to prove this). We locked MARV’s windows, drew the curtains and shades and closed and locked the door.

Franklin County Jail

  • Adam and I walked into the jail just after 6pm. We approached the front desk and informed the attendant that we wanted to pay the ransom on our friends Rich Paul and Mark Capuzzo. We were asked if we were filming. We responded in the affirmative. We were asked to turn off our cameras. Over the next 10min we had a conversation with the attendant and a few of his colleagues. We asked why it was alright for them to film us (there were multiple cameras mounted on the ceiling recording everyone present) but not for us to film them, especially as they, as government employees, work for us.
  • One man, about to end his shift asked “Are you guys 4409? Are you with 4409?” And cautioned his colleagues that we may be 4409 (referring to the awesome Phoenix-based activist whom we met last year). We noted that we were friends with and supporters of 4409.
  • When a supervisor (older, wearing a white shirt) walked by we asked him if it was alright that we filmed while there. He told us that it was a security risk to film while in the jail. Adam clarified that we had no intention of going into the jail but were going to remain in the lobby to get our friends. The supervisor walked to the attendant and told him to let us film, to count our money and check my DL and to get us on our way. The attendant started to proceed as instructed but we informed him that we had to get the money from the ATM at the grocery store as we had been unsure of the amounts of ransom demanded for Rich and Capuzzo. We were told we’d have to fork over $500 for Rich and ten times that for Capuzzo. Unfortunately we didn’t have enough to get both guys out so we agreed to focus on getting Rich out for the time being.

Grocery Store

  • It was about 6:30pm. We crossed the jail’s parking lot and walked back to MARV to get my DL, staying just a minute or two before leaving for the ATM in the grocery store. When almost at the doors of the store a car with “Greenfield Police Department” decals sped to a stop diagonally in the driving lane and a man later identified as Todd M. Dodge asked from his window “Do you plan on going back up there?” I replied “Where?” at the same time Adam said “Yup.” Dodge exited the vehicle and walked toward us.
  • Dodge asked “Are you recording me? Are you audio recording? Because that’s illegal in Massachusetts”. Adam and I kept walking toward the store with Dodge trailing. I asked: “Are we being detained?” “No” Dodge replied. “So we’re free to go?”, I asked and Dodge replied, “Yes.” Adam and I left the scene and entered the store. Dodge returned to his vehicle.
  • I withdrew cash to cover Rich’s ransom and walked back to the jail.

Arrest

  • Adam and I walked into the lobby and approached the counter. The attendant informed us that we could no longer film there. I proceeded to count out the money and lay it, along with my ID, on the counter as previously requested. We continued to question why our ability to film in the lobby had arbitrarily been changed in the 10-15 min. we had been gone. The attendant provided no clear answer. Eventually he was joined by two colleagues and Dodge, who had parked outside.
  • One of the reasons that we supposedly could no longer film proffered by the men with badges was that their claimed concerned about the privacy of others in the lobby. We noted that we did our best to only film ourselves and those who’s salaries are paid via stolen money. And we questioned the double-standard they vocalized – that we could not film but that they, who purport to work for us, could. This continued for ~10min. Eventually Adam indicated that we could eliminate this concern for the time being by continuing the conversation on the sidewalk immediately outside the lobby. Everyone migrated.
  • Outside almost immediately we were ordered to turn off our cameras – a threat, they stated, that if not followed, would result in our arrest for trespassing. We again continued to point out the double-standard they were enforcing – that they could film but we could not, that the policy they cited wasn’t clear as what was now supposedly banned had earlier been approved and that their facility itself was public property. Moments later Dodge grabbed Adam’s wrist and twisted it back, stealing his camera. Other men with badges moved to reinforce Dodge and descend upon me. We did not resist but went limp. Adam was dragged to a car and forced inside. I was carried to another car.

Greenfield Police Department

  • During the drive I questioned the man who was bringing me to a cage. I asked him to think about his actions, noting that I had not violated the rights of anyone else. I told him that he alone was responsible for his actions – that he could not justify what he was doing simply because someone with more metal pinned to their chest instructed him to do so, or because it was so dictated on a piece of paper. He didn’t disengage. My opening to distinguish between natural law and arbitrary man-made legislation came after he proclaimed that we are given our rights from the government. Soon I touched on Public Choice Theory. Adam later told me he remained silent on his ride to jail.
  • We were met at their headquarters by more men with badges. It was probably just after 7pm. We both noted that though we were peaceful and would not resist, we were not going to help them trample our rights by actively helping them. We were roughly carried inside while being mocked.
  • Neither of us provided our names. They asked if I was “Peter Eyre” – the name on the DL I carried when attempting to pay Rich’s ransom. I replied “That was the ID I was carrying.” I was searched by being picked up and placed on the floor and rolled so they could access my pockets. My shoes and socks were removed. Other property was taken from me, including a set of keys was found, which they assumed were for a RV. One of the men later left with the keys and from what we can piece together, delivered them to his colleagues who were watching the RV, which was parked a couple of miles away. Inside MARV (more later) they found an ID that listed its owner as “Adam Mueller”.
  • Adam was brought into Dodge’s office. Also present was Marcus Paulin who too had a badge pinned to his chest. Adam overheard Dodge on the phone mention that they may just have to break the window of the RV to gain access, apparently trying to intimate Adam and cause him to admit that it was in fact our RV. Adam asked “What would you do if I broke a window into your home?” Dodge replied, “I’d fucking kill you.” Adam pointed out this double-standard while Dodge continued his aggressive, standoffish questioning of Adam. Meanwhile, I was questioned by three men with badges on their chests. They laughed about their use of force against me and Adam. One man with a badge told me it was wrong to call our destination cages since they had no bars. Then he smirked. I told him that whatever the construction of the cells they were still a cage built to deny freedom of movement – something we had done nothing to deserve.
  • I asked the men at what point do they believe it right to stand up to unjust arbitrary man-made legislation. I asked them at when would it have been alright for the Jews in Nazi Germany to not comply – when it was dictated that a gold star be added to their clothes? When their property was raided and stolen? When they were forced into ghettos? When they were loaded onto trains like cattle and offloaded in camps? When they were ordered by people “just doing their job” to kneel in front of a big pit filled with bodies or walk into a gas chamber? I was told, after a laugh, that that scenario was history and that it had happened under a different government altogether. I stated that these were the types of things have have happened historically and are happening today due to the incentives inherent in an unchecked institution that relies on force to operate and the belief that some people have authority over other people.
  • Adam was carried from Dodge’s office to a chair positioned in front of an ink pad and paper cards. I was carried into Dodge’s office, questioned and photographed (including my tattoos) – the same process to which Adam had just been subjected.
  • I was carried to the fingerprinting chair and was fingerprinted. Like Adam before me, I did not resist nor did I assist. I could hear someone chanting. It was Adam. The men with badges pinned to their costume vocally deciphered what he was saying – “No victim. No crime. Peaceful people shouldn’t be put in cages”. Then they laughed. Adam continued for the next hour or two.
  • I was then dragged to my cell by Paulin and another man. It was at the complete opposite end of the cells from where Adam had been caged. I was hefted out of the chair and told that a more-thorough search of my pants had to be done. I was asked if I would assist. I declined. Two grown men – strangers – removed my pants. The same had happened to Adam.
  • On their way out I encouraged Paulin and one other man to think about the morality of their actions. Paulin paused with the sliding cell door open and looked me straight in the eye and told me “I’m with you. Probably more than you think.” I asked him why he wouldn’t then act based on what he knew right. That he could speak out against this institution of violence. I told him he’d be a hero. He said “Not to my family.” I said, “Sure, it may not be an easy decision. You have years invested. But if your family trusts you they’ll respect your decision and will be open-minded to learning why you quit. I told him that a friend, Brad Jardis, had left his position as a “peace officer” in NH due to his moral disagreement with drug prohibition. I pointed out the welcoming and supportive community in which Jardis now finds himself. He closed the door slowly and left. It was about 8:30pm.
  • My cell had cinder-block walls, a steel sink/toilet combo with no toilet paper, and a concrete floor and ceiling and a raised concrete bench/sleeping area.
  • I joined Adam’s chant and over the next couple of hours we kept it going. No one ever communicated with us.
  • We tried to sleep but it was cold. We found that to communicate we had to yell a few words at once due to the echos in the cages. We decided to do an impromptu workout to stay warm and mitigate our boredom. Incline pushups, dips and crunchies were in store.
  • It was after midnight. We balled up and were still freezing. We banged the door repeatedly and asked for someone to bring us a blanket but none ever came. Out of the silence came a voice in the ceiling – a man who identified himself only as a “dispatcher”. He informed me that he was alone in the facility but would radio for someone to stop by and help us. We waited. A couple hours later James Rode – who too had a metal badge on his costume – arrived. He asked what we needed. I informed him that we had been locked-up and not informed of our charges. That we were cold and were never given blankets. And that we’d not yet made a phone call. He asked me twice in an accusatory tone if I was being truthful about the last point. He said that if what I told him was verified by the call log I would be able to make a call. He left. We heard him on the phone. He mentioned Free Keene. Then we never saw him again.
  • It was still very cold. We tried to sleep. I did jumping jacks and pushups to stay warm. Adam paced. He was told by the “dispatcher” that “Even rodents get used to their environments.” We weren’t happy.
  • At around 5am a man with a metal badge on his costume came in and asked if we wanted breakfast. We both declined, noting that we didn’t want to justify the gun placed to the heads of those living in the area who’s money was stolen to pay for the food.
  • Around 6am we were told via the very-real voice of Big Brother in the ceiling that we would leave in 15 min. for court. We were excited for a (hopefully warmer) change in environment. Over the next hour and a half we were told by the dispatcher and other officers that we would leave in 15 min. We finally did.
  • As Adam was putting his shoes on he asked Dodge, “Did you think about what you did to us? You had a chance to be a ‘peace officer’ yet you choose to use force.” Dodge replied, “I slept fine.” To which Adam said, “You may not see it today or tomorrow but one day you’ll realize someone here used force against peaceful people who’ve harmed no one. And it wasn’t me.” Dodge then told Adam that he’s (Adam) just a two-time drug felon who’s the scum of the earth and will be in and out of the system the rest of his life. Adam replied, “Vices aren’t crimes. You see it this way today but one day you’ll realize.”

Greenfield District Court

  • We were handcuffed, surrounded by men with guns, placed into what’s essentially a cage on wheels and “transported” (really a pc way of saying shipped like cattle) to the courthouse. The man who drove us went 40mph in a 20mph and failed to buckle our seat belts. We pointed out the unaccountability of his actions. He was unresponsive. We continued anyways. His response: crank up the volume of the radio. I yelled over the sound, “You can try to ignore the reason and morality on which the points we’re making are based but you know deep down in your heart of hearts that what you’re doing is wrong. You can try to justify this by telling yourself that you’re just doing your job but how would you feel if your relative was sitting in this position right now? We are peaceful people and haven’t violated anyone’s rights. You alone are responsible for your actions. You can stop this car and let us out.” This continued the entire ride.
  • We parked and were greeted by Dodge and other men with badges. Adam informed Dodge of the the man-made legislation ignored during our transport and Dodge said “Good.” On the way inside I pointed out to Dodge the sub-par conditions in which he left us the previous night. Dodge said he had slept “Just great.” I advised him to think about how that bed was bought – with money stolen from people – and how Adam and I, who hadn’t violated anyone’s rights, had been treated. He seemed nonplussed.
  • We went through intake, both declining to take public defenders, again due to the taxpayer liability. We were each assigned a lawyer to help with our bail proceedings that day. Adam lucked-out with Timothy J. Flynn who happens to be a libertarian. My court-appointed lawyer for the day was Jon Heyman. We gave them some background about how we ended up there. Adam was told he was being charged with felony wiretapping and resisting. I was told I had those same charges as well as a felony firearms/ammo charge and a misdemeanor VIN manipulation. And we both may also be charged with trespassing but that was never made clear.
  • Heyman left and came back. He told me he’d run into some people who knew us – a lawyer from the ‘shire (Lance Weber) and Antigone Darling. That was great news, especially as we hadn’t had any communication with the outside world since we’d been arrested. Heyman asked me how much he thought we may be able to raise for bail.
  • We were led to the courtroom. Just before I got there Heyman pulled me aside and said the man called “District Attorney” would be willing to let me walk without bail so long as I signed a document that indicated that I would not, until the conclusion of the case, possess firearms or ammunition. I told him that since I own myself I have the right to defend myself and thus would not part with a tool that helps to facilitate that. Also, that I often open carry so I was not willing to agree to such terms. He was worried I may not be allowed to leave that day so I asked if the terms could just be narrowed to the arbitrary political boundaries of MA, which really didn’t change anything since I don’t have a Firearms Identification Card (FID) (man-made legislation that “allows” people to carry a firearm and ammo in MA). The “District Attorney” agreed.
  • Antigone and Lance greeted us in the courtroom.
  • Adam Mueller was released on his own recognizance and will return on July 29th for pre-trial. I was released on his own recognizance with the exception noted above and will return on Aug. 2nd for “Cont.” . . .

Aftermath

  • Though we thought MARV (our RV) had been searched we weren’t 100% sure the cops were telling the truth or if they were just attempting to use that to get us to talk. When we were finally released from custody Lance informed us that the RV had in fact had been searched and towed. Under what authority I still don’t know.
  • We grabbed a bite at Hope & Olive (across the street from court) with Antigone (thanks for lunch!) and Lance and caught each other up on related news.
  • Lance drove us to stopped by Koch’s Automotive Inc. (413.773.9043) who had towed MARV. I paid $285 to get MARV out of impound. We were told from an employee that the RV had first been towed to the Greenfield PD parking lot where it was searched then they were called back about 30 minutes later at which point they brought it to their property. We were charged $90 for each of the tows (the rest of the bill was for “labor”). We entered and found MARV trashed. Since we didn’t have our cameras Antigone captured the destruction on her cellphone.
  • We were shocked that these men broke into our home and destroyed our property with no cause. This was a clear sign of retaliation as opposed to justice, which they purport to uphold, being served.
  • We stopped by the Greenfield PD to get our cameras and cell phones back. We were told that they would not be returned until the conclusion of the court proceedings. We also took a moment to snap a picture.
  • We had been told we could get Rich out at the Franklin Co. jail. We drove there and walked in. Our money ($500 ransom + $40 fee) was counted by the attendant and we were told he’d be down in about 30min. Then we were told that we would have to go to the Greenfield District Court to pick him up, minus the $40 fee.
  • Back at the court building I handed Rich $500 and he paid the ransom. We piled into MARV and drove back to the safety of the ‘shire.
  • A few hours later Adam and I discussed the incident on Free Talk Live for an hour-and-a-half. Thanks again to Jason Talley of the Civil Disobedience Evolution Fund who gave up his seat for half the show.

We have a donations-related post in the works and will get that up soon. Thanks again to everyone who gave of their time and treasure to help us out in our time of need. Without such support it would be more difficult, both internally and logistically, to have had such an outcome. But we still have much work to do. We must not let these individuals who so willingly violated our rights continue to operate without being held accountable.

We didn’t ask for this to happen – we wanted to pay the ransom and leave Greenfield with our friend Rich, however, Dodge and his colleagues prevented that from happening. Despite doing nothing to harm the rights of anyone else, we were kidnapped, our freedom of movement was taken and our privacy was violated. Dodge and his ilk treated us as criminals because they disagreed with our views. They definitely did not uphold their Mission Statement, which, in part, notes:

The members of the Greenfield Police Department will provide the highest level of service to the community, to reduce crime and fear of crime through the enforcement of laws and the protection of life, property and the rights of all.

For us, harm to our lives, property and rights was very real and it was due to the actions of Dodge and his colleagues.

If you want to call, email or write to the folks involved to let them know what you feel about their actions, here’s contact info for the Greenfield Police Department, “Office of the Mayor”, and the Greenfield Daily Reader – the local paper. If you do contact them please feel free to share your communication as a comment below. Thanks in advance!

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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.