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Peace and Prosperity

Hundreds Protest NH Police Chief's Tank Request

The Concord Monitor reports that hundreds of people came to the Concord, New Hampshire city council meeting Monday night to protest Concord Police Chief John Duval's ongoing effort to obtain a Lenco BearCat G3 armored vehicle for the town's police department.

BearCat opposition at the meeting was overwhelming. The Concord Monitor notes that most of the dozens of people speaking during two hours of public testimony opposed acquisition of the tank-like armored vehicle, while outside hundreds of people, including Free State Project and Occupy New Hampshire supporters, "played drums, chanted and held signs identifying themselves as citizens, neighbors and taxpayers." To justify the need for the armored vehicle, Duval's initial grant application suggested Free State Project and Occupy New Hampshire supporters are terrorists.

While the city council voted last night to table the BearCat matter so it may be further considered at the council's September 9 meeting, there is reason for optimism that the council will ultimately reject the free, grant-financed armored vehicle. Typically police departments obtain free armored vehicles with little to no awareness among the public. When the public becomes aware and strongly expresses opposition, city governments can reject even free gifts like BearCats valued in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Last year, for example, two cities and a university in the California Bay Area cancelled the joint acquisition of a BearCat by their police departments after the publicizing of the armored vehicle's acquisition sparked opposition at council meetings and protests.

For a glimpse of the action inside and outside the Concord city council meeting, watch this WMUR television report including clips of testimony and this speech on YouTube by one of the many BearCat opponents not allowed in the town's standing room only meeting.
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