Eight arrested in protest of Manchester police
MANCHESTER - Protesters wrote anti-police slogans with chalk on the city's police station Saturday, leading to eight arrests, police said. The fire department hours later hosed off the colored chalk that police considered graffiti.
The arrests - including those of three people who gave out-of-state addresses to authorities - came a day after some of the same people followed police on patrols Friday night and filmed them making traffic stops.
'They've been ratcheting things up here,' Sgt. Todd Boucher said Saturday night. 'They crossed the line when they started writing all over the building.'
One of those arrested, Neal Conner, 24, of 6 Freses Pond Road, Deerfield, said Saturday's protest was promoted on Facebook. Police said people associated with the Free State movement were involved. Conner declined to say who organized the protest, but a website, copblock.org, was written in chalk, and Conner presented one of its business cards. The website monitors police activities and sells T-shirts with slogans such as 'I Don't Talk to Police, I Record Them.'
Conner said Manchester police should be expecting future protests.
'The police will be hearing from us,' he said outside the station after his release from custody.
He declined to say how he took part in the protest. 'I deny what I did was a crime because there was no victim associated with it,' Conner said. 'I don't think peaceful people should be thrown into cages.'
Conner was one of three people charged with criminal mischief for allegedly writing on the police station late Saturday afternoon, Boucher said.
Michael Segal said he was filming the protesters for a website, manchfree.com, when a police officer took his cellphone and arrested him when he inquired about how he would get it back. Segal, 25, of Coral Springs, Fla., was charged with disorderly conduct.
The chalk slogans included 'Badges Don't Grant Extra Rights' and 'WE WILL RECORD.'
Conner, who said he followed police Friday, said he 'was here to protest police brutality on the part of the Manchester PD.'
Conner cited two previous incidents involving Manchester police: a standoff in May that ended with a state police SWAT member fatally shooting a Manchester man and a March 2010 fight inside Strange Brew Tavern after which four off-duty officers were accused of beating up an unruly patron.
The state Attorney General's Office announced last month it had cleared the officers of any criminal wrongdoing in the Strange Brew incident. That office has yet to issue a preliminary report on the standoff shooting.
Boucher said all the charges are misdemeanors that don't carry any jail time.
Police had advance word that people would follow some of their patrols Friday night, but didn't know about Saturday's incident at the police station until after protesters showed up.
Others charged were Adam Mueller, 28, of Jackson, Wis., accused of criminal mischief and resisting arrest; and Wesley Gilreath, 20, of 900 Elm St., Manchester, accused of criminal mischief and false report. Gilreath also had a bench warrant out of Keene for alleged contempt of court involving a charge of false report.
Also charged were Garret Ean, 22, of 296 Pleasant St., Concord, accused of disorderly conduct; Kathryn Agre, 18, of 6 Mystic Place, Keene, accused of resisting arrest and disorderly conduct; Charles Nachtrieb, 32, of Rochester, N.Y., accused of disorderly conduct; and Peter Eyre, 30, of 73 Levertt St., Keene, accused of disorderly conduct.