Libertarian Road Show Crew Arrested (Updates)

Thursday, May 14th, 2009

Last month, Nick Gillespie interviewed Jason Talley and Pete Eyre for Reason.tv. The two libertarians had rented a mobile home, and planned to drive across the country to meet with fellow libertarians, interview figures in the libertarian movement (like Ron Paul, and Libertarian Party founder David Nolan), and report back on government abuses they encountered along the way. They were tracking their trip on the website motorhomediaries.com.

It looks like they’ve found one. It’s not clear why, but they were apparently pulled over yesterday in Jones County, Mississippi. Passenger Adam Mueller attempted to videotape the traffic stop, and was arrested for doing so. It isn’t clear what happened next, but Talley and Eyre were also eventually arrested, Eyre for possession of a beer in a dry county, and Talley for disorderly conduct, disobeying, and resisting arrest.

They’re due to be arraigned tomorrow. These guys are very well-connected in libertarian legal circles. They’re quite aware of their rights, and what they can and can’t do during a traffic stop and detainment. I suspect the authorities in Jones County are about to realize that they harassed the wrong motorists.

MORE: They may face firearms charges, too. And I don’t think the guys have a local attorney yet. If any defense attorney in the area is interested in helping out, email me.

MORE II: It looks like there was an initial inquiry into possible federal firearms charges, but the ATF passed. The three are being held on bond. Someone from the Campaign for Liberty has made her way to Jackson, and I’ve passed on the name of a good local defense attorney my contacts in Mississippi gave me. What’s most important is that we get them the hell out of that jail. From one of my trusted contacts down there:

The folks I know who’ve spent time in the Jones County jail say it’s bad. One had prior time in Angola and Orleans Parish Prison during Katrina and still said Jones County was bad; the other had spent time in Cook County jail and said Jones was worse.

Mississippi’s county jails are among the worst in the country. That this would be one of the worst in Mississippi is hard to imagine.

The Jones County people have been flooded with phone calls, so they’re probably aware by now that it would behoove them to treat these guys appropriately.

MORE III: Just noticed from the photo Jason Talley snapped during the first arrest that both the cops are black. Weird. Two black cops in rural Mississippi violate the civil rights of three white guys. There’s some perverse, post-racial symbolism there, no? You’d sure as hell have never seen a photo like that in the 1950s.

Of course, it isn’t exactly progress, either. That is, I’m pretty sure the 1960s civil rights activists weren’t fighting for the day when black police could harass white motorists. But that they can would probably have astounded someone like MLK. Maybe this is what equality in post-racial America will look like: Doesn’t matter what color you are, if you’re on the wrong side of the badge, your rights don’t matter.

Gillespie’s interview with Eyre and Talley:

 

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45 Responses to “Libertarian Road Show Crew Arrested (Updates)”

  1. #1 |  omar | 

    Queue the “they were looking for trouble, screw ‘em” trolls in 3…2…1….

  2. #2 |  Tokin42 | 

    ha-ha, i hope these 3 rip that county a new hole. People overstepping their bounds need harsh reminders so they won’t do it again.

  3. #3 |  Aresen | 

    *Fetches popcorn and drinks, pulls up chair.*

    This could be fun.

  4. #4 |  Aresen | 

    @Tonkin #2

    Should they settle for enough to buy a new motorhome, or insist on enough to pay off their student loans as well?

  5. #5 |  Hamburgler007 | 

    I have heard of “dry counties” where it is illegal to sell alcohol, but are there actually counties that outright ban alcohol all together?

  6. #6 |  Oatwhore | 

    They forgot one important tip: never ever drive through, and definitely don’t stop in Mississippi.

    I’ve been stopped many times in MS, and for basically doing nothing. They’ll pull you over, surround you, search your car without consent or even talking to you and then send you on your way.

  7. #7 |  Mike H | 

    Someone in the comments over there claims firearms charges are pending against them as well.

    One of those flabby hick Miss. cops probably took one look at Pete Eyre’s biceps and felt his safety was being threatened.

  8. #8 |  scott | 

    “Dr.” Hayne is currently busy tying these guys to half a dozen murders in MS.

  9. #9 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    Hmm. Mississippi does have a history of harrassing “outside agitators.” I guess we can all be grateful that the guys didn’t wind up buried in a gravel pit. “Go home ousider, Missisipi’s gonna be your buryin’ place” (from “He Was My Brother” by Paul Simon).

  10. #10 |  Tokin42 | 

    #8 made me laugh

    http://freekeene.com/2009/05/14/keenes-motorhome-diaries-crew-arrested-in-ms/#comment-79125

    …”She also said that the charges were transporting alcohol across state lines, disorderly conduct and firearms charges.”

  11. #11 |  Chris in AL | 

    The beer in liquor laws in MS are as backwoods as the rest of the state. I lived there for years, and now live in AL where they also have dry counties. Usually it is the owners of the county line liquor stores of the surrounding counties that bribe the dry county officials to keep the county dry. They make huge money selling beer and liquor at very high prices and share that wealth under the table. The people that run the dry counties gladly let their county suffer from all that lost revenue because they are personally getting paid. And subsequently, most of the dry counties are also poor counties.

    Generally, there is not a ban in dry counties though. Dry just means you can’t sell it. You are legally allowed to have alcohol in your house, and since getting it to your house requires going across the county line to get it, you are allowed to transport it. If they didn’t let you go buy it and bring it home, you couldn’t pay the inflated prices and they couldn’t get their kickbacks. There are usually limitations like you can have 1 case of beer or 1 fifth of liquor in the car for each adult in the car. Unopened of course.

    But simply being in possession of beer is not a violation. In addition to wanting you to go buy overpriced beer, many of these dry counties have major roadways passing through them and they cannot pull over and arrest every Coors or Budweiser truck driver that passes through for possessing beer in a dry county.

    If these boys had a southern accent and Mississippi plates they would never have had a bit of trouble. This is about cock bag cops who think that somebody didn’t ‘respect their authoritah!’

  12. #12 |  Mike Leatherwood | 

    I hope and pray that they were not being dicks when they were pulled over. Sometimes, even when you know your rights and you are well within them, your delivery of your message can be key to you not getting a baton upside the skull.
    Of course, it was MS, so you could say “Hello, sir” and get your teeth knocked in.

  13. #13 |  Johnny Clamboat | 

    possession of a beer in a dry county

    Absurdity knows no bounds.

    Talley for disorderly conduct, disobeying, and resisting arrest

    Ahh, the catchall disorderly conduct charge. Clearly I wasn’t there but my hunch is that resisting stupidity = resisting arrest in Jones County.

  14. #14 |  Edwin Sheldon | 

    I’m only two hours away, but I have to work. Wish I could make the arraignment.

    It could have been worse; they could have been stopped in Texas.

  15. #15 |  JS | 

    Aresen#4 “Should they settle for enough to buy a new motorhome, or insist on enough to pay off their student loans as well?”

    To be honest if it was me I’d ask for something much less likely to be given-the arrogant cop to man up and apologize and admit he was wrong. Cops are shielded by immunity from even that little bit of accountability.

  16. #16 |  Dana Gower | 

    I’m not taking sides here, but the folks talking about “dry” counties are misinformed. Dry counties (at least in Mississippi) are just that. Possession of alcohol is illegal anywhere, including cars, homes, etc. Voters in each county choose whether alcohol is legal there or not.

  17. #17 |  claude | 

    Hmm well i tried to post a link to a pic of the arrest but the post seems to have disappeared so lets try it this way..

    img15.imageshack.us/my.php?image=q72.jpg&via=tfrog

  18. #18 |  Eric | 

    In the video, they said they would be in LA in April… they may have to push that out…

  19. #19 |  Johnny Clamboat | 

    From the Jones County Wikipedia page:

    The Free State of Jones is a name synonymous with Jones County, Mississippi (formed in 1826)….

    ….In fact, the label “Free State of Jones” actually predates the Civil War. According to alternate theories of the term’s origin, “Free State of Jones” came to be associated with Jones County for one of two reasons: 1) in reference to the county’s reputation as a sparsely populated “backwater” of the young state, whose few residents were notorious for their disdain for organized governmental authority, or 2) due to a period of time in the early 1840s when, due to low population numbers and lack of legal proceedings, the county was left without duly-inducted legal and/or civil authorities.

    Time to drop that label.

    It’s also Judge Pickering country; his son had a cameo in Borat.

  20. #20 |  Marty | 

    they were fishing for govt abuse, maybe they caught a keeper!

  21. #21 |  Tim C | 

    Different angle – I agree that they shouldn’t have to suffer in that hell-hole. But, just sayin’ – I kinda wonder if now that they are getting flooded with calls etc and may realize who they’ve got here, that some kind of atypical/preferential treatment might kick in (this is, of course, supposing the MS locals have enough sense to realize that looking bad is indeed bad and that a shit storm may in fact develop). And in that case, while this is of course preferable from a “it’s unlikely that these guys would get all their stuff back, stay out of jail etc otherwise” point of view, it would be interesting to see how they ended up being treated without the publicity.

    I’m afraid it probably wouldn’t be very good….

  22. #22 |  Mister DNA | 

    Tim,

    I see what you’re saying, but considering the usual lack of accountability in jails on a nationwide scale, the jailers in Jones County just might resent all the publicity these “outside agitators” are bringing and decide to show the boys how they do shit Down South.

    My biggest fear is that I log on tomorrow and read that one of the guys “hung himself” in his cell overnight. If I was the religious sort, I’d be praying for these guys.

  23. #23 |  Seamus | 

    Just noticed from the photo Jason Talley snapped during the first arrest that both the cops are black. Weird. Two black cops in rural Mississippi violate the civil rights of three white guys. There’s some perverse, post-racial symbolism there, no?

    Reminds me of a cartoon about the “New South” I saw in National Lampoon some time during the late 70s. It portrayed a black cop in a Smokey Bear hat giving his best “You in a heapa trouble, boy” look at an effete Yankee in a car the cop had pulled over. I guess life imitates art.

  24. #24 |  Ben | 

    My best friend and I (both white) got pulled over by two black cops in Alabama a few years ago, and were harassed for a solid hour, including getting out of the car, threatening us with calling in the canine unit unless we let them search our car (a Subaru WRX with MA plates), and threatening us with all manner of violations of our rights and bodies until they finally just let us go. I remember thinking the entire time whether this was some sort of reverse racist revenge against two northern cracker boys driving a sports car through their precious hellhole. Never stepping foot back in AL for the rest of my life.

  25. #25 |  Mario | 

    Ben — Can you blame them for taking revenge against two northern cracker boys? I mean, it was the people of the north during the Civil Rights era — and even during the Civil War — that were perpetuating the subjugation of blacks down south, in direct opposition to will of the white southerners…

    Oh, wait a minute… Never mind. Now I’m confused!

  26. #26 |  LibertyTiger | 

    Radley, the arrested videographer you mentioned in your morning links blogs at the http://freekeene.com website you’re linking to. They’re all members of the Free State Project and have moved to Keene, NH.

  27. #27 |  David | 

    It seems that nobody has figured out yet what they were actually pulled over for initially.

    Anyway, I hope the MHD guys get out soon. Good luck!

  28. #28 |  Cappy | 

    Years ago when I was in the Army we went to visit my wife’s grandmother in Lousyanna. On the return trip we went through Alabama and was promptly pulled over by a trooper (I-10 if memory serves me correctly). Now 10 miles back I had observed a canine doing a search on a vehicle. Trooper told us that we were going 80 in a 65 or 70 (been 15 years folks) and with the wife driving and her lead foot that was highly probable. After showing him our military ID, told him wear we had come from and showing him our leave papers, he issued a warning then he went into the spiel about how this interstate is known for drug trafficking and he wanted to have our permission to search the vehicle. Told him this, “Sir, now I know about 10 miles back there is a dog that was searching a vehicle. Now, I don’t want you going through our personal possessions, but if you want to bring that dog up to do a search, by all means.” He let us go.

  29. #29 |  Tim C | 

    22 DNA – yep, good points.

    23/24 Seamus/Ben – Heh (not), Robin Williams on getting pulled over south of the “Manson-Nixon Line” – “BMW – you Jewish?”

  30. #30 |  kyle | 

    Hmm, had multiple issues in cobb and chatham county georgia just passing through, and its nothing “no sir” and “yes sir” didn’t get me out of. Rebel flag sticker on their bumper and my yankee MN plates on my vehicle was a bad combination. Never had the urge to smart off about wishing sherman had made it all the way to the atlantic. But i had learned in time not to push people that call me “Boy.” Something about beating the rap but not beating the ride. And on top of that i had better things to do with my time. But that was long before one could say blog/tweating/RVing was a respectable profession (as in middle 1990s). Not to mock potential trust fund babies, but :) i am. Hope they have the resources to make a long term change in the socioeconomic system, with the help of modern communication tools. But they need a good catchphrase.

  31. #31 |  Tokin42 | 

    Seems they’ve been released:

    http://twitter.com/allisonzayne

    I’m still wondering why they were pulled over and why the search of their vehicle.

  32. #32 |  Dave Krueger | 

    Mississippi is kind of like the bad side of town on a national scale.

  33. #33 |  Our Morning Roundup: ‘If you’re on the wrong side of the badge, your rights don’t matter’ - City Desk - Washington City Paper | 

    [...] with Jason Talley and Adam Mueller, after two cops decided that filming a traffic stop was illegal. The Agitator’s Radley Balko has more: “Passenger Adam Mueller attempted to videotape the traffic stop, and was arrested for doing [...]

  34. #34 |  Mike T | 

    MORE III: Just noticed from the photo Jason Talley snapped during the first arrest that both the cops are black. Weird. Two black cops in rural Mississippi violate the civil rights of three white guys. There’s some perverse, post-racial symbolism there, no? You’d sure as hell have never seen a photo like that in the 1950s.

    We’ve now reach true racial equality.

  35. #35 |  ManM | 

    What I don’t get is this:

    Mississippi seceded once.

    Why the hell did we take them back?

  36. #36 |  SJE | 

    Were they on an interstate? If so, can they really be arrested for possession of alcohol. The are limitations on local rules as applied to people on interstate highways.

  37. #37 |  Henry Bowman | 

    I wonder what firearms charge is being brought against them. In Mississippi, it is legal to carry a loaded firearm in a vehicle either concealed or open. I assume all these guys are 21 or older, but perhaps that’s not correct.

    Truly, though, you can get stopped in Mississippi (or most other states, for that matter) just ‘because’. The cops can always make up some story, and will quickly do so if needed.

  38. #38 |  chris | 

    I live in Arkansas, which is bad enough, but I know to stay out of Mississippi.

  39. #39 |  Butch | 

    I live in MS, about 20 miles from Jones County. I’m also very involved with a grassroots movement to reform some of our more absurd alcohol laws such as the 5% limit on permissible alcohol in beer (www.raiseyourpints.com). A couple of points:

    1. Dry counties are dry. It is illegal to posses anything defined as a “alcoholic beverage” in the county, period. Technically, they could arrest your having a single beer in your fridge.

    2. There is a special exception to this law that allows you to posses alcohol in your vehicle if you purchased it in a wet county and are on your way to another wet county. They had to allow this in order for the beer distributors to use the interstates.

  40. #40 |  Dana Gower | 

    This is probably more information than anyone wants, but the exemption for transporting beer through a dry county applies only to licensed distributors in marked trucks. There is also a possible exemption by getting written permission in advance for something like “unique and extraordinary” cases. Saying that you’re just passing through won’t help you.

  41. #41 |  Windy | 

    Perhaps everyone who reads about these kinds of incidents, in ANY state, should write to that state’s tourist bureau and let them know what kind of damage such incidents are causing to tourism to their state. My husband reently retired and we had plans to visit everey state in the union, now we’ve taken a few off that list, and MS is the latest. I, for one, WILL be writing to MS tourism bureau and letting them now this and why. I’ve already written to TX after hearing about the theft by cops happening there to travelers.

  42. #42 |  haven | 

    “Two black cops in rural Mississippi violate the civil rights of three white guys.”

    You jump pretty quickly to this conclusion with no real proof as far as I can tell. Not that this won’t be proven to be true, but you seem pretty quick to dismiss due process when it is convient for you.

  43. #43 |  something in Latin | 

    There’s all kinds of things that can get you pulled over and harassed. I frequently catch shit when driving through small towns, because, a few months out of the year, I have a certain decal that raises the ire of local cops. The decal? Indicates my employment as a fishing guide.

    They think I’m scouting.

    Small town cops don’t worry about pulling over people from out-of-town (which, if you’re not from a small town, is easy to tell on even in-state plates – because every license plate registered in the county shares a prefix). Good luck fighting a ticket. I’ve received speeding tickets twice where the cop informed me that I could ‘pay it now’. Oddly, I never received any paperwork in the mail.

    The only defense? Get your iPod off that live Phish album, for fuck’s sake, and put on something classic rock or talk radio. If you have a drawl you can use, all the better.

  44. #44 |  MHD Lawyer, Tom Schornhorst, on our “very interesting day” in Jones County Court | the Motorhome Diaries | 

    [...] Department. Professor Schornhorst first heard about us on Radley Balko’s site, the Agitator, and has generously donated his time to defend us. He writes: I was in the Jones County Justice [...]

  45. #45 |  MHD Lawyer, Tom Schornhorst, on our “very interesting day” in Jones County Court | Liberty On The Rocks Denver | 

    [...] Department. Professor Schornhorst first heard about us on Radley Balko’s site, the Agitator, and has generously donated his time to defend us. He [...]

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