The police chief in Concord, N.H., is backing away from claims that Occupiers and libertarians pose a domestic terror threat as justification for the city needing an armored vehicle to protect citizens.
In an application to the Department of Homeland Security seeking more than $250,000 to purchase an armored vehicle, the city specified Occupy New Hampshire and the Free State Project, a libertarian group, as potential threats, Mother Jones, a left-wing magazine, first reported.
“The State of New Hampshire’s experience with terrorism slants primarily towards the domestic type,” the filing reads. “We are fortunate that our State has not been victimized from a mass casualty event from an international terrorism strike however on the domestic front, the threat is real and here. Groups such as the Sovereign Citizens, Free Staters and Occupy New Hampshire are active and present daily challenges.”
Police Chief John Duval said he no longer believes the Free State Project or Occupy New Hampshire are domestic terror threats.
“I wish I would have worded things different in retrospect,” he said, according to the magazine. “I understand why their eyebrows are raised about that.”
The DHS application said the Lenco BearCat G3 could be used to respond to terrorist acts involving “chemical, biological, and radiological materials as well as explosive gases” or even smaller crises such as “suicidal and hostage situations.”
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The Free State Project demanded an apology from city officials Monday.
“These claims are appalling and inaccurate,” said president Carla Gericke, according to a release. “The Free State Project is a NH-based non-profit organization with the sole mission of attracting 20,000 pro-freedom people to the Granite State. In the decade of the FSP’s existence, to my knowledge, no participant has ever been implicated in a violent crime. In fact, Free Staters subscribe to the non-aggression principle, believing no one, including the state, should aggress against peaceful people.”
In an open letter to the city, Miss Gericke demanded a retraction and amendment of the grant application to remove all references to “Free Staters.” She also demands an itemized list of the “daily challenges” presented by “Free Staters” to the Concord Police Department, and a written letter of apology from both the City of Concord and CPD explicitly stating the Free State Project is not a domestic terrorist organization, the release stated.