By William R. Toler
Billyrock was arrested by police in Laconia, New Hampshire after a “routine traffic stop” for allegedly running a red light late Friday. At the time of our initial story , details of the arrest and the charges were not known.
The story spread like wildfire across the liberty community, with many people calling the jail asking questions and advocating her release. She was let go late Saturday morning, according to her lawyer, Seth Hipple. He posted:
She was principled yet polite to the guards and that, along with all the calls I think, meant they wanted her out. Normally, she would’ve been in there until Monday, but she’s out today, which is fantastic.
He went on to write:
The bail commissioner was confused by the fact that Amanda wasn’t just doing whatever she was told without question. She asked me if she was under the influence. I said no. “Then why?” “She doesn’t believe in the legitimacy of the state as an institution.” Things got quieter.
Later that day, Billyrock issued her own statement on Facebook, overwhelmed by the outpouring of support:
I have recently been released from the jail in Laconia, New Hampshire. Home now.
My inexpressible gratitude to all of you who called the jail and spread the word about my sudden and violent kidnapping. I had no idea that there had been so much support – I teared up when I logged onto Facebook and saw it.
My deepest thanks to the Free State Project community, without whom I would still be in a cage right now.
The details of this incident of unwarranted aggression will be released after I pull myself together and sort things out with my attorney Seth Hipple.
Thanks again, brothers and sisters. The free society is us.
She had initially posted the video of her confrontation but soon took it down, reportedly at the suggestion of Hipple. However, an analysis of the situation and the video at Freecoast.org sheds a little light on what happened:
…she complied with all legal requirements. What she didn’t do was give in to standard police tactics designed to manipulate people into incriminating themselves. She did not answer the officers’ questions and she did not consent to a search. In response, she was told that her legally enshrined right not to self-incriminate would be illegally used as probably cause to arrest her and search her vehicle.
Later in the video, the alleged charges recited by the officer were A) maintaining a Utah Driver’s License with a New Hampshire Car Registration, and B) having an open container of alcohol in the back seat. Neither of these charges would justify the initial stop, and the officers’ previous statements show that her primary offense was really what we libertarians like to call ‘contempt of cop.’ The latter charge, much more serious under NH statutes, resulted from a search of Billyrock’s vehicle without her consent.
As of early Monday, the actual charge(s) against her were still unknown. Persistent phone calls were made by Ian Freeman of Free Keene, finally resulting in answers. Freeman discovered that Billyrock is facing five charges:
- Disobeying an Officer
- Resisting Arrest or Detention
- Transporting an Alcoholic Beverage
- Possession of a Controlled Drug
- Driving Under the Influence
The removal of the video led other activists to question the tactic. Most lawyers will advise clients to keep quiet on the case, lest they should slip up and give the prosecution more ammo to use in court. Many activists, however, prefer to be transparent.
Derrick J. Freeman of Peace News Now hosted a roundtable discussion on the debate Monday afternoon. What are your thoughts?
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