During the N.H. Executive Council meeting on Oct. 13, 2021, Gov. Chris Sununu seemingly ordered State Police to unlawfully arrest nine citizens who were civilly and peacefully watching the meeting, evidently without cause. He then, acting like a despot, used the opportunity to chastise anti-vaccine-mandate activists after the meeting by calling them “fringe anti-government” types, accusing them of disrupting the meeting, even though there is significant video evidence (see below) proving that his claims are not true.
We know definitively that many activists are just moms and dads who are facing job losses over their objections to an experimental vaccine and are looking for some protection under the law. Government, being designed to protect the rights of the minority, is well within its authority to prevent discrimination based on vaccination status in the workplace and society at large, but the governor has repeatedly used his position to crush the minority while maintaining an arrogant attitude that only he can possibly know what is best for everyone. The governor thinks it was OK for him to shut businesses for months last year, but suddenly it’s not OK for the state to protect the life, liberty and pursuit of happiness from an abusive federal government and the businesses following their unconstitutional orders. Thankfully, at the meeting on Oct. 13, the Executive Council voted 4-1 to support the people and prove the value of their constitutional role by rejecting $27 million in federal dollars that would have funded vaccine propaganda efforts within New Hampshire. More needs to be done.
Sadly, the worst of the governor’s apparent despotism was displayed at the Executive Council meeting. State Police picked off people one-by-one who were sitting in their seats peacefully as the governor looked on pretending that nothing was happening. While video evidence shows police warning the crowd that any outbursts would result in arrest, the crowd did not in any way disrupt the meeting or even make a single sound prior to police arrests of innocent bystanders without cause. Perhaps the governor was upset that the crowd stood quietly with their backs to him at one point during the meeting in a sign of disgust toward his recent behavior. However, video evidence shows that not a single person disrupted the meeting until after the first arrests were unjustly made.
Video evidence (see below) shows that Frank Staples, 41, of Manchester, and Terese Grinnell, 48, of Loudon, were sitting peacefully in their chairs watching the meeting when police escorted them out of the room–without incident–and placed them under arrest. It’s hard not to interpret these arrests as anything other than an intentional instigation of the crowd. These arrests stimulated some understandable outrage among several of the observers in the room. One unidentified man shouted, “Shut it down! Why are they being arrested?” At this point, several other people spoke up, asking, “Why are they being arrested?,” which is a legitimate question considering the circumstances.
Instead of Sununu, who was running the meeting, or police providing some guidance, officers proceeded to arrest some of the people who asked this question. Albert Todd, 32, of Nashua, who was standing with his wife and child, was visibly upset by the unjust arrests, and was one of the loudest to ask, “Why are they being arrested?”–again, a legitimate question. His wife, Marylyn T. Todd, 37, of Nashua, who was holding their child, then said something akin to, “What is wrong with you? … You just arrested his father in front of his face.” Also, a legitimate thing to say, for which she was then arrested and led out with her child. We don’t know what happened with the child.
Following this despotism, police arrested John R. Schmitt, 68, of Keene, who said in a normal tone of voice to a police officer in the back of the room: “We’re the people, you’re arresting the wrong people. Why don’t you arrest the damn ’emperor’?” The arresting officer said, “C’mon, let’s go,” and led him out under arrest. Police then targeted Kathleen Bussiere-Appleton, 70, of Newton, who was sitting quietly in her seat. She resisted arrest–and understandably so–saying, “Why are you arresting me? I didn’t do anything wrong?” This was followed by an arrest of Monica Holm, 58, of Hudson, who was chatting quietly with a friend–the friend was not arrested, but she was led away to jail. She went quietly. Following these arrests, many of the activists in the room left the meeting, not wanting to be added to the list of the police-state targeted effort.
Not observed in any of the videos, Emilee K. Spiller, 26, of New Ipswich, and James E. Stuart, 68, of Rochester, were also arrested, according to the N.H. State Police Facebook page.
Over the past several weeks, RebuildNH has advised activists to engage civilly and peacefully at all public hearings and meetings, especially following a loud outburst at an Executive Council meeting that was prematurely postponed on Sept. 29, 2021. Police did nothing to even encourage the people at that meeting on Sept. 29 to settle down, but that wasn’t their job. The governor, who was technically in charge of that meeting, ran out of the room rather than attempt to bring order on Sept. 29. He then sent out an executive councilor from the back room to tell the crowd the meeting had been postponed, instead of doing so himself.
Did Sununu’s directed heavy-handed approach toward activists on Oct. 13 have anything to do with his weak response on Sept. 29? We think so.
The police response was wrong both times, and the leadership failure falls to the governor, who was running both meetings. If it’s OK to let people yell at one meeting and not arrest them, then it certainly is not OK to arrest people two weeks later who simply sat peacefully and quietly in their seats. The imbalance of enforcement deserves rebuke, but the violation of the people’s clear constitutional rights to participate in the public process was the greatest victim of this clear abuse of power. Without consequences, the state’s actions on Oct. 13 could create a chilling effect on public interaction with government, and that would be a tragedy. We cannot let this stand.
As to the despot governor, we think he should be censured at the very least, and he owes the people an apology. If he has any interest in leading Granite Staters from this point forward, we highly suggest he work with the Legislature to protect the people from medical coercion, a violation of the most basic human rights. It is 100 percent appropriate for the government to protect the rights of the minority–it is frankly one of the only reasons government exists. To not stand for the people’s right to medical autonomy, this governor is on the wrong side of history. The fact that he’s seemingly taking his disagreement out on innocent bystanders by watching them get arrested without cause deserves the highest public rebuke. When government acts lawlessly, as we witnessed on Oct. 13, the mildest description for what happened is tyranny. The fact that Sununu followed up this act with public ridicule of the people he arrested enters despot territory.
We want you to see the video evidence for yourselves so you can make up your own mind. We think you’ll agree with us. Once you do, contact us by joining our mailing list and getting involved with restoring the people’s liberty and the Republic of New Hampshire.
Here is the video evidence:
This first video shows the unjust arrest of Frank Staples, 41, of Manchester, and Terese Grinnell, 48, of Loudon, who were peacefully sitting in their chairs at the public meeting when police approached them for arrest:
The second video shows the unjust arrest of Monica A. Holm, Age 58, from Hudson, was also arrested for sitting in a chair at a public meeting:
This third video shows a 23-minute segment which is mostly boring meeting details. Toward the end, you can see the arrests begin to unfold from a different angle:
This fourth video shows Gov. Sununu’s actions leading up to the arrests. We don’t know what he was doing, but we do wonder whether the video authors are on to something:
This fifth video is a presentation that explains the other videos, which are raw footage, produced by “Live Free or Die”:
The final video shows coverage of the whole event from activities outside the meeting room until after all of the arrests were made. If you fast-forward to 1:57:50, you will see the beginning of the activities and all of the arrests:
More coverage of the event:
National coverage of the meeting: