Good Samaritans in the New Hampshire city of Keene, otherwise known as “Robin Hoods,” are being sued by the municipal government after the anti-government group decided to feed coins in expired parking meters before officers write tickets.
These “Robin Hoods” are reportedly part of the Free Keene movement, a local liberty advocacy group that promotes the ideas of libertarianism, such as limited government, drug legalization and less taxes.
These people fill the parking meters with coins when they notice they are expired and before parking enforcement officers have the opportunity to write up a ticket for the motorist and generate additional revenue for the city and perhaps even meet their necessary quotas.
After they feed the meters, they leave a card with the depiction of Robin Hood as a fox on the windshield of the car that states: “We saved you from the king’s tariffs. Robin Hood and his Merry Men. Please consider paying it forward.”
Proponents of the movement argue that the Keene officials are only doing this because the city is losing money. “The Robin Hooders have always been courteous in my experience,” said Ian Freeman, an accountant and one of the six individuals responsible for this. “The city is upset because they are losing revenue and are coming up with anything they can to try to stop it.”
In total, the group claims it has stopped officials from writing more than 4,000 tickets.
However, opponents and politicians who are in favor of the lawsuit say it’s about public safety and the contract that the city maintains with the officers. “This is not about revenue. This is not about the city losing any money,” City Manager John A. MacLean said Tuesday, reports NewHampshire.com. “This has always been about safety and the contract we have with our employees.”
The Free Keeners and those not associated with the organization are accused of harassing the officers by filming them and allegedly saying crude things. It was reported that one of the inspectors, Linda Desruisseaux, remembered being taunted by one of the six, who told her, “Linda, guess what you’re not going to do today — write tickets.”
It was retorted that if there was any harassment then there would have been criminal harassment charges being brought forward. “They would have loved to have charged anybody with anything and they don’t have a case,” said Freeman.
The group records the ordeal on tape, but the city also has its own videos. Keene hired private investigator Peter “Sturdy” Thomas. He was paid $1,339.67 for 46.5 hours of work, which was taken out of the city’s safety and security budget.
According to local news reports, some people are not upset by the movement at all. One woman told WHDH in Boston that her husband was running late by a few minutes and the extra coins “definitely saved him.”