Police checkpoint outreach – Manchester (5/22/15)

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I assisted in a large-scale public outreach and service effort centered around a DUI checkpoint in Manchester.

During the warmer months, Manchester Police Department conducts sobriety checkpoints every few weeks, where they randomly detain drivers regardless of suspicion of driving under the influence. Activists converge ahead of the checkpoint, holding signs warning drivers to turn away or be searched.

Over 20 activists, most of them from Manchester, protested the checkpoint. Most activists arrived at around 10:00 p.m. and stayed a couple of hours, though a brave few stayed close to 2:00 a.m.

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After making initial rounds to take stock of the situation and see where help was needed, I proceeded south on Elm Street with Ian Marshall to inform the local bars and their patrons of the checkpoint on Bridge Street. We reached about a half-dozen bars along the main drag of Elm. Afterwards, I took a sign and joined the front of the activist group alongside David O’Hare and Bruno Parga. When Bruno left, Collette Brisebois took his place, and the three of us held the front for over an hour more.

At two different junctures, Collette and I broke off to film police detainment of motorists separate from the checkpoint. In both cases the driver was released, and looked relieved at our presence.

Over the course of the night, we received almost entirely positive reactions, ranging from simply thanking us for what we were doing to high-fives and selfies. One young man left us a tip (that he was very insistent on us taking), and a young couple brought us coffee.