On Monday, September 9, 2013, the City Council of Concord approved the grant application to receive a Ballistic Engineered Armored Counter Attack Truck. The 11-4 vote defied the will of the community, ignoring the more than 1,500 petition signatures collected by individual activists, the 50 people who testified against it, and the many, many Letters to the Editor, articles, and editorials against the BEARCAT. The City chose instead to side with the police chief and the 4 people who testified in support of the attack truck.
At Freedom Fest in July 2013, NH State Representative, Mark Warden, who is a Free State Project participant, small business owner and Realtor, was interviewed for the Future Money Trends blog. Says Warden: "The Free State Project is an amazing idea and concept that is just now coming to life." You can read the transcript and watch the full interview here.
Copied below is the speech Free State Project president, Carla Gericke, gave before a packed room at the Concord City Council meeting on August 12. 2013. More than 200 individuals showed up to testify against Concord receiving a BEARCAT attack vehicle. Due to the large number of people who wanted to speak, speeches were limited to one minute, but several people yielded their time to allow Carla to finish her testimony, which ended up running about 6 minutes to the Chief of Police, John Duval's thirty. She added some off-the-cuff comments in rebuttal to Duval's testimony that do not appear in the script below. The Council, in a 8-4 vote, decided to table the matter until September. Stay tuned for more details. TESTIMONY: We, the people, are not the enemy. Free Staters--productive people moving to New Hampshire because of the shared values with our neighbors of small government and more personal responsibility--are not terrorists. We do not pose “daily challenges” to the City of Concord--in fact, I volunteer for Concord Reads at the Concord public library!
"’The Free State movement and Occupy New Hampshire have no history of violence, so it's very unclear why any police department would need to use an armored vehicle when addressing these groups," says Devon Chaffee, executive director of the NHCLU. ‘But we all agree that we want the police and we want our communities to be safe, and what this conversation is about is really what type of equipment and tactics are most appropriate to achieve that goal.
Dear Mayor Bouley,
As a concerned resident of New Hampshire, I am writing today about assertions I’ve heard that only Concord residents will have the right to speak at the City Council’s BEARCAT hearing on Monday, August 12, 2013.
In a Concord Monitor article, you said: “I clearly appreciate everyone’s input, but I always will put the interest of the Concord residents first, and I have not heard from many Concord residents.”
There are several reasons why more than just Concord residents should be heard, and should have standing to testify on whether it is a good idea to get another Ballistic Engineered Armored Response Counter Attack vehicle in one of the safest communities in America.
In a grant application for $258,024 in federal funds from the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) to receive a Ballistic Engineered Armored Response Counter Attack vehicle ("BEARCAT"), the City of Concord and its police department claimed: "The State of New Hampshire’s experience with terrorism slants primarily towards the domestic type. We are fortunate that our State has not been victimized from a mass casualty event from an international terrorism strike however on the domestic front, the threat is real and here. Groups such as the Sovereign Citizens, Free Staters and Occupy New Hampshire are active and present daily challenges. Outside of officially organized groups, several homegrown clusters that are anti-government and pose problems for law enforcement agencies."
The police chief in Concord, N.H., is backing away from claims that Occupiers and libertarians pose a domestic terror threat as justification for the city needing an armored vehicle to protect citizens. In an application to the Department of Homeland Security seeking more than $250,000 to purchase an armored vehicle, the city specified Occupy New Hampshire and the Free State Project, a libertarian group, as potential threats, Mother Jones, a left-wing magazine, first reported. Read more
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The City of Concord and its police department has defamed the FSP in an DHS grant application for a $258,024 Ballistic Engineered Armored Response Counter Attack vehicle: “The State of New Hampshire’s experience with terrorism slants primarily towards the domestic type. . . . the threat is real and here. Groups such as the . . . Free Staters . . . are active and present daily challenges.”
On August 2, 2013, Concord Chief of Police John Duval wrote an email response to the Free State Project President, Carla Gericke's Open Letter sent to him and city officials Tom Aspell and Brian LeBrun via email (and hard copy).
I respectfully refer you to the article in today’s Concord Monitor about our request for the rescue vehicle. I believe my comments in the paper clarify the intent of the wording of the grant.
When Mother Jones, Occupy, the ACLU, and the Free State Project are all equally concerned about the militarization of the police and the secret designation of peaceful groups as "domestic terrorists," you know we are winning.
"After the public release of a document where he suggested that Occupiers and libertarians pose a domestic terror threat to Concord, New Hampshire, the city's police chief has backed away from the claim. In an application to the Department of Homeland Security seeking more than $250,000 to purchase an armored police vehicle, the capital city of New Hampshire specified the local branch of the Occupy movement and the Free State Project, an effort to recruit 'liberty-loving people' to relocate to the Granite State, as potential sources of terrorist action." Read more at Mother Jones.
Photo by: Mr. T in DC.