President of the New Hampshire Free State Project
Weare Settles Lawsuit for $57,500
— The town of Weare has agreed a $57,500 settlement in a lawsuit filed
by a woman who said her First Amendment rights were violated when she
was arrested for video recording police during a traffic stop.
Gericke, president of New Hampshire's Free State Project, was arrested
in March 2010 and initially charged with illegal wire tapping. Although
the charge was dropped, Gericke filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court
against the town, police department and arresting officers, saying her
arrest was retaliatory.
thrilled the case is settled," Gericke said in an email Friday. "It was
a long road, but the payoff is that we now have binding precedent
affirming the First Amendment to record police traffic stops. I also am
cautiously optimistic that the settlement will cause law enforcement to
be more hesitant to arrest videographers exercising their rights. I
think we've already seen positive change come out of this case in that
Bauer, the attorney representing the town, was not available to comment
on the settlement filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Concord.
According the settlement, the agreement to end the litigation is not an
admission of "liability, wrongdoing or culpability."
federal judge denied a motion by Weare to dismiss the case in October
2012. The defendants appealed and on May 23, Judge Kermit V. Lipez of
the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against a police claim that the
officers had "qualified immunity" in charging Gericke, saying she was
not compromising safety during the stop on March 24, 2010.
was clearly established at the time of the stop that the First
Amendment right to film police carrying out their duties in public,
including a traffic stop, remains unfettered if no reasonable
restriction is imposed or in place," Judge Kermit V. Lipez wrote in his
said after the ruling that he would review the decision and consider
appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court. However, under the settlement, both
sides agree to end the litigation.
The Porcupine Freedom Festival is an annual liberty camping event organized by The Free State Project
. This year marks our 11th PorcFest. We hope you will join us for the
festivities in Northern New Hampshire at Roger's Campground for the most
exciting liberty event of the year! See you there!