Police Chief Backpedals Over Tank, FSP Pushes for Truth
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. The wording you cite from your web site, 'Our website specifically states: "Anyone who promotes violence, racial hatred, or bigotry is not welcome"' underscores the point I was attempting to illustrate in the grant that there are people who may attach themselves to a law-abiding group, but who may have a personal agenda with criminal intent. I presume you would not have included that sentence if you did not believe there were individuals out there that you believed might align their personal agenda with your cause. Those are the challenges I was referring to. Unfortunately, we have had local examples of such risks in our community which necessitates the need for law enforcement to be prepared for many scenarios. The rescue vehicle is a means of transportation for the safe movement of law enforcement officers and removal of innocent citizens from potentially lethal situations.
Today, Carla Gericke wrote back:
Thank you for your reply–I appreciate the response. Apologies for my delay in getting back to you. As I’m sure you can imagine, having 'Free Staters' be called 'domestic terrorists' has eaten away my time. FYI, since you are a public official, and referenced your mail to me to reporters, I will be posting your original message and this response online at our website.
In response to your note, I would ask: What organization, including the two major political parties and your police department itself, runs no risk of people attaching themselves to the organization for their own personal agenda? Because most libertarians strongly believe in the non-aggression principle, and choose to disassociate from those promoting the initiation of force, does not mean, as you imply, that the FSP attracts more violent individuals than any other organization.
I would also appreciate an explication of the 'local examples' of the risks Concord has faced as a result of individuals associated with any of the groups you mention–I am aware of a protester who was arrested after being Tasered at a Tea Party rally some weeks ago, but he was not, to my knowledge, affiliated with Occupy or the Free State Project.
I also take you to task for referring to the Ballistic Engineered Armored Response Counter Attack vehicle as a 'rescue vehicle.' Such an option exists on the grant application form, however, the option for a BEARCAT to deal with 'WMD/CBRNE' was selected instead.
If your language in the grant application was meant to express the fear that some individual would engage in a 'lone wolf' attack under the banner of one of the organizations you cited, it was not clear. If this is your fear–and since you have now publicly admitted you don’t believe the FSP or Occupy are domestic terror threats–I would request that you retract and resubmit the grant application with appropriate language so that the City/Concord Police Department runs no risk of perjuring itself, or having its funding suspended or terminated as provided for in Section 51 of the 'Grant Terms and Conditions 2012.' If you meant the mere fact that people who engage in peaceful political activism requires the presence of a BEARCAT with gunports, I would suggest you read over the Bill of Rights and Article 22 of the New Hampshire Constitution.
I respectfully request the following:
- A clarification of the language in the grant request and a comprehensive list of groups that you believe pose a 'terrorist threat' to the City of Concord.
- For the City/Concord Police Department to withdraw the grant application and resubmit it with accurate information.
- Start an open and honest dialogue between our organizations to avoid such misrepresentations in the future.
Thanks again for your time and your swift response. I look forward to hearing from you!
Yours in peace and liberty, Carla Gericke President, Free State Project"
Photo by meeeeeeshl