Merrimack (NH) Police Department’s “ANTI-Autism” Agenda

2017 Preface: this has been edited to redact names of individuals despite them being public officials. New Hampshire regulations have limited First Amendment protection against anyone under authority as I learned in 2016.

However as of this past April the Merrimack Police Department’s social media pages did not use the LIUB campaign. (But may had a huge impact after mocking the Retweet on a poster sized board outside of my house basically holding the department’s feet to the fire…is that proper to say?)

For outsiders looking in the various parties made errors.

You can fight Town Hall, but sometimes you can win the fight, and sadly you’ll loose and that idiom lives to its name.

As of November 2015, I’ve given up the fight from defamation, insensitive actions by my local police department and have avoided being in my community because of the continued fear of people in uniform.

The situation involved the town  Merrimack, New Hampshire Police Department and an initial innocent interaction of the Chief of Police, in April 2015 who I alleged took advantage of my disorder and used it against me in a police report I had no idea was written.

The rest of this post would be the original narrative I was going to read for the record to the Merrimack, NH Town Council, who had denied my request to go onto an agenda item because of personnel reasons and that they stand by their woman, the Town Manager and their man, the Chief of Police,

I’m here before the Council with deep regret to report what I believe is misconduct by public officials against their own citizen. This is not how I want to start my first public statements in this community.

In about the next several minutes; I’ll be discussing two events that occurred on April 1st and 2nd, and another series of events April 27th and the 28th. I’ll explain myself for a little bit; walk you through the two events and request a call for action – sadly after 6 months of the fact.  I ask for you to please listen through the whole narrative and reserve reactions, remarks or clarifications after. I need to stress the importance that the story will tell itself and all the details need to be explained without interruption. If you do get “lost”, refer to EXHIBIT A* of the Outline of Events. I will refer to the people by their title and not by name, to ensure compliance of RSA 91a without needing to be in a non public meeting. The story will be told in real time, from those two events.

* 2017 Footnote: I did this because New Hampshire is a very formal and legalese state, I basically danced along to get along.

I moved to Merrimack for a number of reasons; a better quality of life and being closer to areas like Nashua and the Mondonack regions for travel and leisure.  I also am one of the many residents in this jurisdiction who has a developmental disability and who’s also not a child ether. I am one of many who had moved ether in town or elsewhere in the Nashua region to receive services as other area agencies have not serve me as I would like to. I’ve had early signs of an autistic disorder as early as a few months. I was in an early education program when I was around 3 and was non verbal before I turned 5. I was diagnosed formally at 7 and was mentioned to me directly when I was 12. I was placed out of district and went to a program in the Seacoast and a program in Massachusetts which made me evolve from a happy, friendly boy to a scared to death, sometimes bitter old man.

The rest of this story is not all “rosey”, it should hit a nerve. I like many others of my type stayed in the school system till 21. Some areas had great “transition plans” between the SAU and the area agencies and some had not. I was the victim of the latter. I had no true transition plan, and the last three months of school put me into deep nightmare. Factor being on the state’s “wait list” for nearly 16 months, I had continued to struggle transitioning to adult life in the community. As a result of a real life nightmare, it has put my life into a screeching halt that has yet to be fully turned around.

For many years I’ve been a victim of prejudice and inaccurate judgment thanks to the general leadership or the lack thereof on the subject on autism – in this little state of New Hampshire. While I am in a “day program” now and trying to get into a work study program; the day to day living and being out in the community is like having an X on my back. Unlike other “advocates” my stories are often the unfortunate realities of an oppressive special needs system, where adults should not be focused, and all resources should be in the special ed departments at the local school districts. And dealing with many stereotypes that all autistics are lost little boys, or very big and fat socially awkward people. You never hear a lot of positive messaging here in this state.

The State of New Hampshire’s Bureau of Developmental Services has believed for adults with all types of disabilities to live in their own community, instead of being in state schools or institutions; services should be provided in their own community and live with their own people.  Federal laws are also going to move to “community based supports” going into effect in a few years.

However, as the cliche goes, it takes community to build a village. If the community has various views that might have bias against the group of developmental disabilities; then this would break the framework of what the state wants out of their citizens. This framework is far from complete, as the system still has lingers of stereotypes and individuals could be getting better treatment and services, but this is not part of the discussion tonight.

With that introduction, I’d like to discuss the events that has lead me to address this to the Town Council.

APRIL 1st (Citizen reaches out to fellow citizens to NOT LIUB and/or NOT support Autism Speaks)

On April 1st, the day before World Autism Awareness Day (and where most of the state was in Concord to protest against budget cuts for the disabled), I decided as a citizen of his own community, he should wake up the locals to not “Light It Up Blue” . LIUB is essentially to get people to buy blue colored light bulbs at the local Home Depot, as they have been a corporate sponsor of Autism Speaks, which in return is the sponsor of LIUB. I went on Industrial Drive literally on the median/island to ensure I was within town DPW or NHDOT right of way and not near any private properties such as the Merrimack Premium Outlets or Fidelity Investments, as such demonstration probably would’ve required permission by lawyers. So as a result, I obviously used common sense and made sure I was within reasonable grounds to practice my constitutional rights.

I used a DSLR camera (which has the ability to record video) to tape me with my iPad with a video message with mostly brief words and pictures in silence in sync to It’s a Very, Mad, Mad World (mixed in post production.) This was originally was uploaded to a inactive YouTube account that I once used.  The three minute “package” was designed to be professional looking including a “roll cue”, chyron like lower thirds explaining why I was doing this, and about myself in general etc. As a result of most Apple products, direct sunlight or daylight doesn’t mix well, and the fall back was to show hand written signs with spiffy wording and heavy on probationary symbols with blue light bulbs or the single puzzle piece to inform the locals to not LIUB. The shots showed me standing up and holding the signs, mixed with shots of people driving by.

The goal was to get people talking, because chances were people would tune to the news, go onto Facebook and then maybe text someone and say “Hey I saw a guy in town with some message about Autism Speaks or to not Light It Up Blue”.

All this was done at the time what I felt was within my rights as well as trying to contribute to his own community and try to make a mark in life.

LIUB was created and fully marketed by Autism Speaks. Founded 10 years ago by an ex NBC Universal chairman, the organization evolved very quickly from good intentions to severe unintended consequences. They’ve framed the autism disorder as if every single individual is like a “tragic burden” (described by self-advocacy groups), or that all people with autism are lost little boys or they just run away and that your kid won’t have a prosperous future and the autistic kid would be responsible for divorce. It is not to say this could be true, it’s messaging isn’t objective. The war on the autism narrative between AS, the National Autism Association (NAA), the Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN) would make advocacy groups for juvenile AIDS, diabetes, or cancer groups jealous. The subject of the autism spectrum disorder has a lot of money and power and control up for grabs between these groups. Autism Speaks never has allowed anyone on the autism spectrum (including those who are non verbal) to even speak about their disorder – themselves. They are doing the speaking for them, which really doesn’t allow the disorder to speak for itself.

This type of misinformation caused on a national level is possibly causing an autism crisis here in the Granite State in terms of funding and service delivery for not children, but adults, such as the “first generation” types who are in their mid to late 20s, some even in their 30s

It is very important to know that autism is short for the autism spectrum disorder and is a wide range of abilities or inabilities; some can be verbal, some may not; some will run away, some may not; some may have pre-existing physical impairment or have mental disorders and be dually diagnosed.

One of the signs I also tried to show was for people to go onto YouTube and look for Autism Everyday.  Searching this term online can give you related terms such as “Autism Speaks Murder Suicide” “Autism Everyday Double Murder Suicide”, etc. Why?  When seeing this film; it will give you a chill down your spine. For the time constraints,  I suggest you look up the video online. This organization is basically inhumane, and we have a chief law enforcement officer with a simple retweet and indirectly supported an organization that believes in murder against a human race.

Again, the purpose of this demonstration was to wake people up from believing in the stereotypical propaganda spewed by Autism Speaks.

APRIL 2nd (Run in with the Chief of Police and Twitter interaction)

The following day, on April 2nd, I did a similar demonstration on the intersection at Amherst & Continental and at Greeley & Camp Sargent. Again, I held these signs on the sidewalk which I thought at the time was within the right of way.  Around 12:50 to 12:55, I was at the sidewalk by Burger King and turned my back and my attention was called by a man that looked like the Chief of Police. His tag stated “M. Doyle” and was fully uniformed with firearms, radio, etc. The Chief read a sign out loud passively which at the time I held “Auti$m $peaks Does Not Speak to any Autistics At All!! Don’t Light Your House Blue!”

The concern apparently from the police department’s point of view was my camera as he asked what I was doing with the camera. I asked 2 times if I broke any rules (such as non-compliance of doing the demonstrations or taping drivers or myself in public.) I told him it would be used for private use. ( I would in fact upload the video package on YouTube then later take them down in the fear of legality concerns.)

He asked me if I needed any assistance and to call the department. The exchange was civil, but I was skeptical. When the Chief went back into his car, he got into a gold Ford Five Hundred sedan with a civilian license plate, and not the state mandated Municipal Police plate. I kept one eye on him to show that I was being observant of my surroundings. At the time on April 2nd, that afternoon –  I was under the impression he was off duty, I found out several weeks after on the 28th he wasn’t off duty.

Screen Shot 2015-06-26 at 2.07.36 PM ETAbout an hour later, the Town’s Police Twitter account and the Chief’s Twitter account retweeted the LIUB campaign, time stamp shows it was posted around 2:20. The Police Department and Chief basically did against what I suggested my fellow citizens to do.

I felt this was a slap in the face to me and to everyone who lives in Merrimack with a developmental disorder.

As stated in the title, I attempted to interact with the Department on Twitter, by giving them the link of the day before and showing my dissent in a civil way, seen on the left. Little would I know this would be used against me.

After challenging them within civility (since I thought their Twitter or Facebook accounts weren’t used to monitor crime), I was blocked access to their Twitter. I did report the department’s account to Twitter on the subject of “encouraging self harm” per to the Autism Speaks narrative. The Retweet, at last check has not been deleted.

(For the purposes of the Hopeless Autistic, as of November of 2015, the Tweet still is online and has not been deleted by Chief Doyle’s and the account for the Police Department. Ed.)

Prior to late April, I was gathering information if there was a bias against a certain groups of people (considered to some as “ablism” or even “racism”). Part of this included a recollection from someone I knew from about 3 years ago who told me that the Merrimack PD officers that would play in off duty rec games in town and would say “retarded” very loosely – coming from a source that has zero tolerance for use of the “r-word.” After ascertaining other network of sources, I felt there was a case of bias against the developmentally disabled people in town.

APRIL 27th (Electronic Confrontation with the Chief of Police)

My folks still were not aware of what I had done a few weeks before, because as my own guardian, I feel my maternal family does not need to know every little thing in a day of my life. However, they became aware after the following events.

On the evening of April 27th, I pre planned to send an email to the Chief to confront my concerns with the department. I decided to avoid a telephone call, because I was verbally assaulted by another department head in the winter time. People have complemented me on my writing, and I thought writing a through email a serious complaint would be worthy. (Sadly, the timing couldn’t be worse as I found out the events of the Baltimore riots just before 5:00 that evening, and feared I would be framed as a police hater.)

I wrote the following:

Screen Shot 2015-06-26 at 2.16.17 PM ET

Within 5 minutes, he immediately replied the request on the last paragraph

Steven
Any reports are available by requesting same through our records division, Monday through Friday, 8A to 4P. Please let me know if you should need anything else.
Chief Mark Doyle

He doesn’t address anything else, including improper use of English on an Outlook app. My signature had my contact information, and yet my phone never rang.

I felt this response showed arrogance, because I feared perception that I was a cyber punk by the Chief.  I felt he wouldn’t want to resolve any problems or conflicts and I replied within the next 10 minutes threatening him that I would take this to the Town Council.

APRIL 28th (Failed “Call for Action” request to the Town Manager)

The following morning, realizing the next line of order is the Town Manager, not the Town Council, I escalated this concern directly to the Town Manager by forwarding the thread with the following statement. (A second paragraph has been redacted.)

Screen Shot 2015-06-26 at 2.30.37 PM ET

The Town Manager almost immediately responded back on the redacted paragraph only, and not about the Chief of Police and only replied with a single sentence.  After challenging her to respond about the complaints against the Chief;  by 9:04, a political wildfire occurred electronically.  Within 90 minutes after the initial forward –  the town exploded their side of the bridge.  The Town Manager brought up the off topic subject matter (seen below) yet again, and once more in another reply at around 11am, meanwhile speaking to me like I’m a child or if she was annoyed with me. (Is that unprofessional? 

Dear Mr. Ayotte,

As I stated this morning, I have spoken to [name redacted] and staff with regard to your complaints. I have spoken to the police chief this morning regarding your complaint as well reviewed his report. I find neither of these complaints rise to the level of action on my part.

She ends the email with the following:

Please do not expect any further communication from me on this matter

The Town Manager also carbon copied this thread to your board without my explicit permission, which I find it unprofessional for people to carbon copy others without asking for permission from the sender first. 

At the time, I did not understand what “report” the Town Manager was referring to,  initially thought of a daily briefing with department heads, but as the day went on, I would find out the Chief of Police had actually written me up as a police report even when I asked the Chief on April 2nd to confirm that I wasn’t breaking any rules – two times. As clarified by the Town Manager the following received that evening at 6:55:

There is no report between me and the chief. We spoke on the phone and he told me that he wrote up a report on his interaction with you. Would you like a copy?

I’ve spoken to state Commissioners, department heads and town managers of competing communities and was disturbed how our Town Manager closed this reply with this…

This will be my final email to you on the matter.

The story ends with the police report, according to the report it was filed within 3 hours after the encounter. I have been a law abiding citizen and never thought I’d ever get a report to express my reasonable free speech rights or the basic principal of contributing to the community and be punished with it.

Not only will I say that I never thought I’d get a report, but I will go on the record to say that the report is false I can testify against what was claimed in the report and I’ll quote the narrative part of the report in verbatim as the report contains grammar errors etc.

“On today’s date at approx. 1300 hrs., I observed a subject standing on the sidewalk, holding a sign (that, from the distance I was at, was illegible) while standing next to a camera mounted on a tripod. I noticed this same subject on the other side of Continental Blvd on the sidewalk, adjacent to the Gulf Station, yesterday, holding a sign as well.

I pulled into Burger King, parked and approached the subject, identified as ‘Steven’ who was now standing on the sidewalk on Amherst Rd. I asked him what he was doing and if he needed anything…he explained that he was taking a few selfies (video) of himself holding an ‘Autism Awareness – Light it Up Blue’ hand-written informational sign for motorists. I thanked him and advised that if there’s anything he needs from us to just call

The campaign is directed to ANTI-AUTISM awareness, as shown in this YouTube video:”

He would then would link both the Twitter and YouTube accounts (both defunct.)

The problem was, the sign stated “Auti$m $peaks Does Not Speak to any Autistics At All!! Don’t Light Your House Blue!” the video was clearly not “ANTI-AUTISM awareness” and secondly the term selfies are not used in professional video production.

More disturbing, the report was updated to have the inclusion of the above email on the evening of April 27th as a follow up  including my full name, startup business and telephone number that came from my email “signature” used for business purposes just like everyone else who uses email for professional uses. 

He said the following, quoting the same report

“On 27 April 2015, at aprox 2240 hrs. I received an email from and individual named Steven Ayotte, of Merrimack… the text of that email and my response follows (FYI: only at this time):

The Chief recklessly pasted that earlier email without appropriate redaction or deletion when posting the report and a report with improper use of grammar and cryptic languages.

The Town Manager made a major mistake for making a swift decision about me without me knowing the full story from the Town side, by attempting to shut me up at 9:30 that Tuesday morning.  Do you see how that could be questionable, and why are you continuing to defend the Town Manager by citing your charter as your board “has a vested interest” with her, can you see how there could be a problem?

Is this how Merrimack, NH address “progress” with the developmentally disabled, by targeting the said groups and then taking advantage of their potential inabilities to fight back by writing a false police report and risking his career and reputation by assuming that someone like me is naive? That even if I claim to be autistic that its ok to just take advantage of me? If this is the case, the State’s Department of Health and Human Services’ Bureau of Developmental Services needs to know because “Community Based Supports” can only work if the community is tolerant – most importantly on the municipal police level.

The story ends here and now I am going to ask the Town Council if they can begin an investigation addressing my concerns I have against the town’s Police Department, the following questions are listed below, that can be addressed at a later time.

  • I ask the Town Council to perform an investigation if the Merrimack Police Department currently or historically within the last 5 years of bias against people with developmental disorders including but not limited to the Autism Spectrum Disorder, Down’s Syndrome, Asperger’s Syndrome, Rett’s Syndrome, Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) Pervasive Developmental Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS), and other disorders related to developmental disabilities, as outlined in EXHIBIT C
  • Does the department considered promoting women to higher force, as they have generally have more tolerance, sympathy with the less fortunate?
  • Are there members of this force who have been trained specifically to be sensitive to members of the public who have a form of the Autism Spectrum Disorder, if so how and who did the training, and approximately how many in uniform or non uniform, such as support staff or dispatchers?
  •  Are there checks and balances (appropriate ones) to prevent fraud (like what I allege)?
  • Is it normal for a police report to have grammar issues and recklessly pasting emails without citizen knowledge and not redact personally identifiable information such as phone numbers on an email signature?
  • Similar to the Town’s Social Media Policies, does the Town have email policies on how town officials should communicate to constituents. Emails seem to be very deflective or require me to make telephone calls or use very de standardized phrases such as “Expect no further communication from me on this matter”. (this was originally part of an agenda item request for the August Town Council, but was rejected because the “chairman” wanted more information, thinking I would use it as a loophole to discuss this subject tonight.)
  • While board members will nitpick spelling and grammar errors when approving meeting minutes (spending hours annually); give time checks to open and close public hearings (when it’s actually not needed); why are details not a concern for town employees as well?
  • Has there been any complaints about “subjects” on sidewalks, similar to the high school kids doing fundraisers on a Saturday morning, putting their lives at risk? Are there reports?
  • Is the Town of Merrimack’s Social media policies apply to town employees, and if so is the Chief in violation per stated rules outlined in EXHIBIT B?
  • Is the Chief responsible for criminal defamation per to the RSA Title LXIII, Chapter 644:11 I & II as he insulted a constituency of the Merrimack, NH residents by supporting an organization that encouraged murder suicide?
  • Is the Chief responsible for violating RSA 641, and if so could he be charged or misdemeanor as outlined in EXHIBIT D?
  • An FTP IP address is shown on the police report I’ve obtained, but the “class” of that IP address is for private use. Is there multiple network cards or “gateways” that could be tied to other networks such as NCIC, a state issued crime database or the NSA? A single computer can be tied to multi types of internet connections, and how do can the public be certain that false reports are not in the eyes of other black boxes?
  • Is the Town Council serving the interests of the citizens or serving the interests of department heads?

I like to reiterate, that I never threatened any Town Employee’s life or property, other than threatening to bring the Chief’s actions to the Town Council in public, because in a sane department head, if you make such threat, you would want to talk as adults to work out a problem, and not risk loosing your career, or face jail time and loose your badge correct?

My support people at my area agency had checked against all emails and have confirmed I was within my rights both in public on April 1st and 2nd and the emails on April 27th and 28th were within reason. My family is now fully aware of the events and sadly I wished I could appear before you in another capacity.

I ask the Town Council to address this issue throughly but in a progressive manner and  update the public of any decisions. I want to prevent another incident if someone else like me wants to do something like I did. I feel like the Town of Merrimack, New Hampshire believes its not appropriate to question government officials of this municipality and will do whatever they want to throttle one’s reasonable rights by picking and choosing various classes of people and equipment they are using on right of ways.  As mentioned earlier I believe there is racism and/or discrimination on the Town’s part, and in the Police Department. The actions are something you’d expect in 1995  not in 2015.

Thank you,

 

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