Under fire for arresting a man dressed in a chicken costume to protest Senator Jeanne Shaheen’s appearance at the Londonderry Old Home Parade, the Londonderry Police Department has released their reports surrounding the incident. We publish them below in their entirety, unedited. The incident has raised eyebrows across the state and the ire of First Amendment advocates who believe the department overstepped it’s constitutional authority by arresting a protester on a charge of “disorderly conduct” for “harassing” a political figure.
NARRATIVE FOR SGT. JOSEPH BELLINO
On Saturday August 16th, 2014 I was on duty from 0700-1200hrs assigned as the supervisor for the Londonderry Old Home Day festivities. While monitoring the annual parade which began at 1030hrs, I was notified via radio from Officer Adam Lane that he was receiving complaints from local officials about an individual dressed in a chicken costume harassing state politicians marching in the parade. At the time of the radio transmission I was able to locate a pair of men, one dressed as a chicken and one dressed in normal attire with a video recorder, walking southbound along the parade route in front of the High School. The pair did not appear to be harassing anyone nor were they interfering with the parade participants at the time I observed them. I remained in my position at Day Boulevard and watched the two, who had now stopped approximately 50 yards south of my position, from a distance. At approximately 1050hrs, Senator Jeanne Shaheen marched past my position on Day Boulevard while participating in the parade. Moments after passing my location I noticed the individual dressed as a chicken step from the curb and enter the parade procession. He approached Senator Shaheen and began flapping his arms. The second individual was behind the Senator at a slight angle and appeared to be actively filming the incident. Both were in close proximity to the Senator,within two feet, and caused her to deviate from her path as she walked. I approached Senator Shaheen and escorted the individual in the chicken costume from the parade route. Once on the side of the road and away from the Senator I spoke with both individuals regarding the incident.
The male in the costume identified himself as “Michael” but could not produce any identification. The subject was later identified as:
He stated that he was from the Republican party and was protesting the Senators reluctancy to attend local town meetings. The two were informed that they have the right to protest but they needed to respect the Senators space and not harass her. They were cautioned that if they got too close that it could be intimidating and could lead to criminal charges. They were further warned that if they interfered with the festivities to include the peaceful operations of the parade, they could be arrested. Both individuals stated that they understood and “Michael” assured me that he would remain on the curb for the remainder of the parade. After allowing the two men to leave, I notified all officers working the Old Home Day grounds of the incident via the radio.
A short while later (approximately 10-15 minutes), Patrol Supervisor Sgt. Adam Dyer informed dispatch that he has witnessed the subject in the chicken costume harassing Senator Shaheen yet again. Sgt. Dyer then informed dispatch that he had the subject in custody. Upon hearing this transmission I made my way to Sgt. Dyers location to take custody of Mr. Zona.
I made contact with Sgt. Dyer at Macks apple stand on Mammoth road. Mr. Zona was in custody seated in the back of the patrol car at that location. I transferred Mr. Zona to my vehicle without incident and brought him to the station for processing.
Mr. Zona was processed and released without incident. He was issued a hand summons for disorderly conduct and given a court date of September 8th to answer for the charges.
NARRATIVE FOR SGT. ADAM DYER
On August 16, 2014 at approximately 10:50 am, I was on duty as the Patrol Supervisor for the day shift. At that time there were on going Londonderry Old Home Day activities to include a large parade. An area of Mammoth Rd from the Londonderry Middle school, Southbound to Macks Apples had been closed down in order for the parade to be conducted. As the parade began, I was positioned on Mammoth Rd at the Intersection of Pillsbury Rd. As the individual groups began marching by, I observed some activity North of my location in the parade route near the rear entrance to our Police Station. It appeared someone dressed in a chicken costume was running around in circles around a group, then sprinting off into the crowd and back out into the street. I couldn’t see who the group was from my location, but it appeared to be politicians. I next heard on the Police radio that several complaints had been received of a protestor dressed in a chicken costume was harassing one of the U.S. Senators and the Governor marching in the parade. I was later notified by SGT Joseph Bellino that the individual in the Chicken Costume had been located and warned to stay off the parade route and cease causing a disturbance.
As the group got closer to my location, a Londonderry Town Councilor, Joe Green approached me and indicated a subject dressed in a chicken costume was continuing to run out into the parade route and harassing Senator Jeanne Shaheen. I then made visual contact with the subject dressed in the chicken costume. There were two other Officers at this location and the subject stayed behind the lines of the crowd and appeared to by paralleling the group with Senator Shaheen and Governor Hassan.
As the group moved South on Mammoth Rd, I observed the subject in the chicken costume come out onto Mammoth Rd again and enter the parade route. He was jogging around the group with Senator Shaheen and Governor Hassan flapping his arms. I then made my way towards the group and observed him on two separate occasions go in and out of the crowd on the side of the road and enter into the parade route and approach the group. I noted he was jogging and jumping from side to side through the crowd that had families and children sitting and standing watching the parade. At one point Governor Hassan stopped to shake someones hand and the subject walked right up behind her within 2-3 feet yelling something inaudible to me due to the other groups marching. It caused her to stop what she was doing and move back towards her security team.
At that point I made contact with the subject in the costume and told him to get off of the parade route. He complied and ran off to the side. I asked him if there was something he didn’t understand about what he was asked to do earlier by SGT Bellino? He stated he was sorry and should have listened and began to walk away. I advised him he was being detained for Disorderly Conduct and to stop where he was. He gave verbal resistance and backed away. I explained to him very clearly that he was being detained for Disorderly Conduct and that he had already been warned to stop what he was doing and stay out of the parade. He said he just wanted to protest and that was his right to do. I explained that he had every right to legally protest his beliefs, but his conduct was not only putting the families sitting on the side of the road at risk of being injured by him running in and out, but he was a security risk as well to the dignitaries marching. I also explained that he had been given a warning already and he had chosen to ignore those warnings and continue on with his behavior. I asked if he had any ID and he said he had none. He was later identified as,
This subject was then escorted down the side of the parade route to the entrance of Macks Apples. During this time he elected to remove his chicken costume. Once there, I secured him into a set of handcuffs and searched his person incident to arrest. Due to the active parade, a transport car was not able to reach my location. I then escorted him across the street and into the parking lot of Macks Apples to a Police Cruiser that had been leading the parade. He made a few comments such as it was unfair to handcuff him and that he hadn’t resisted arrest. I explained to him that I couldn’t stop the parade and there was no way for me to physically escort him through the woods safely where he wouldn’t be seen. Once at the cruiser, I then secured him in the rear of the cruiser and turned up the AC awaiting a transport unit. Zona was quiet mostly, but did apologize several times and stated he didn’t want to be arrested.
SGT Bellino arrived soon there after and took Zona into his custody. This concluded my involvement into this case investigation.
End of report
SGT Adam Dyer