Joseph “Jay” Noone owned a house in Palmer, Massachusetts, or so he
thought. Last Summer, the house was seized by the Town of Palmer after
Jay failed to pay rent in the form of property tax. Noone holds a land
patent on the property and says that he owns no real-estate, which can
be taxed, whereas personal property can not be taxed.
On October 25, Palmer held a “public auction” on what they claim to
be town owned property. Roughly half a dozen friends and supporters
joined Noone outside of the house at 10 am. Jay Noone said, “I’m making
people aware this is stolen property.” One supporter, David C. from
Keene, NH, held a sign that read, “TAX SALES ARE THEFT!”
Jay, David and the others were told by Palmer PD that there was a
“protest area.” During most of the 90 minute open house, the protest
area was not occupied.
Around 11:30, Jay and friends went to the Palmer Town Hall to observe
the “public auction” of this and other stolen houses. Upon arrival at
the Town Hall, signs were spotted that read “POSTED: No video recording
at Town Hall.”
Ian Freeman decided that he would record anyways to see what would
happen. After we entered the building and asked where the auction was
taking place, we were informed that only registered bidders were allowed
to attend. Members of the media were barred as well as other members of
the public. A Palmer Police Officer instructed Ian that he was not
allowed to film. Ian stated that he intended to film and had filmed in
that Town Hall previously.
After a brief back and forth in which Ian asked if the Officer was familiar with the Glick decision,
Ian was escorted to the Police Department in another part of the
building. He was then taken into the booking area on the other side of a
Shortly after being taken into custody, I heard them say that he was being arrested for “disorderly conduct.”
I immediately asked one of Jay Noone’s freinds if she could send a
message to Keene 411 and contact someone in New Hampshire. The news of
Ian’s arrest was quickly spread across facebook and via twitter. As
Jay’s friend was talking to someone from New Hampshire, Palmer PD told
us that we had to leave and go outside into the “protest area.” I
replied that I was trying to find out what was happening with my friend
who had just been arrested. I was told that he was being booked and
would be taken to the court, but that I needed to go outside. As I was
walking towards the door, another officer said that I, and the others,
needed to go outside. I asked if members of the media could stay inside,
and showed him my Press Badge. He responded that everyone that wasn’t
registered for the auction needed to go outside into the “protest area.”
I asked if he was stifling the free press, and he said “yes.” I
complied, as I didn’t want to join my friend in a jail cell.
Around 12:30 we were informed that Ian was being booked and would
likely be done in about an hour. Jay Noone said that Court returned from
lunch at 2pm and that Ian would likely be arraigned at that time.
We entered the Court around 2:15pm, however no video is available as
all cameras, cell phones and other electronic devices are banned from
the Court. Ian was initially called before the judge around 2:30 and
stated that he would not be taking a plea and would not be using a
lawyer. He was released from his handcuffs and shackles and allowed to
join the gallery.
Ian was instructed to speak with the Prosecutor and that he would be
called back up. Ian was offered a plea deal, which would require him to
claim “responsibility” (apparently Massachusetts lingo for “plead
guilty”). He stated that he wanted this to go away and that he didn’t
want to return to Massachusetts for court. The Judge offered to let Ian
pay $50, he asked if he could donate that money to charity, she denied
that request and set a court date of December 10.
After leaving court, I took Ian to the Police Station so that he
could reclaim his property (cell phone and camera) that was being held
as evidence. The Police Chief returned his property to him, only after
Ian emailed copies of the audio files from his phone and make copies of
the video on his camera. Ian gladly complied in order to reclaim his
phone and camera.
Ian Arrested for Video Recording at the Town of Palmer Offices: