William Alleman, 51, of 140 Helen Dearborn Road, was charged Tuesday with interception of oral communication prohibited, which is the state's felony wiretapping law RSA 570-A
Police Chief Gregory Begin released few details of the case when reached for comment Thursday. The charges stem from a July 10 traffic stop, Begin said.
"He was making an audio recording of the officer during a motor vehicle stop without getting consent of the officer," Begin said.
Alleman said the charge is based on a cell phone call he made as an officer approached his vehicle.
Police considered it wiretapping because the call was being recorded by a voice mail service without the officer's consent.
Attorney Seth Hipple, of the Martin and Hipple law office, is representing Alleman as well as Carla Gericke and William Rodriguez, who were arrested on the same charge in March 2010 after Gericke began videotaping a police traffic stop. Their charges were later dropped.
"This is another example of the Weare police arresting people for recording public officials doing the public's duties in public," Hipple said.
Alleman said the incident began after he left a gathering to support Palmer's Tavern owner George Hodgdon, whose arrest days earlier for interfering with an assault investigation caused many to publicly criticize the Weare police.
Alleman said he was followed by a police officer when he left the gathering, attended mostly by members of the libertarian activist group, the Free State Project.
Alleman said he supports the group's cause but is not a member.
Alleman said he made a cell phone call as Officer Brian Montplaisir approached his vehicle.
The call was to Porcupine411, an answering service for Libertarian activists who are in trouble with police.
Alleman was not arrested at the scene. He was charged this week on an arrest warrant. He's scheduled for arraignment April 5. Begin would not discuss specifics about the case.
On March 24, Gericke, a member of the Free State Project, began video recording police when her friends got pulled over for speeding on Route 114. Moments after she was charged with felony wiretapping, Rodriguez was arrested at the Weare police station for allegedly recording with his cell phone in the lobby.
Rodriguez denied having a phone in his possession and pointed out that there were surveillance cameras present.
Hipple said Gericke's camera has not been returned to her.
Police also claim dashboard camera videos of her arrest aren't available because the equipment wasn't working that night. Hipple said police don't have maintenance records to prove the cameras weren't working.
"The Weare police are afraid of being accountable," he said.
All of the incidents have happened in the months leading up to the town's police chief election. Weare is one of the few towns that elects its police chief.
Begin is running against Paul Massaro and Larry Bolduc.
Begin and Lt. James Carney are defendants in a lawsuit filed in December by former Sgt. Lou Chatel, who stopped working for the department last July after Carney and Begin raised concerns that Chatel was manufacturing child pornography.
The Attorney General's Office cleared Chatel of any wrongdoing in September, and Chatel said in his lawsuit the investigation was an act of retaliation by Begin and Carney.
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