Keene officials to meter fillers: This is about public safety not revenue
"This is not about revenue. This is not about the city losing any money," City Manager John A. MacLean said Tuesday.
"This has always been about safety and the contract we have with our employees," he said.
Parking enforcement officers as well as the public reported that the harassing behavior by members of the group calling themselves Robin Hood of Keene had the potential to cause an accident, MacLean said.
The city is also concerned about protecting its employees from harassing behavior and freeing them from interference in the performance of their duties, Maclean said.
"He is an accountant by day and Robin Hood on Saturday," said Ian Freeman about Cleaveland, both men are named in the suit.
"That's pretty ridiculous and there's plenty of video to prove that isn't true," Freeman said.
The city, though, has its own video evidence to provide in court.
Thomas is one of the private investigators the city hires when it needs to run a background check, Prokop said.
Harassing behavior was being reported not only by city employees, but by the general public, he said.
"If there was a case for harassment they would have brought criminal harassment charges and they haven't done that," Freeman said. "They would have loved to have charged anybody with anything and they don't have a case."
Since reported by the New Hampshire Union Leader on Tuesday, the story has spread online starting with the Washington Times and to the United Kingdom's Daily Mail.
Cleaveland is also expected to appear on Fox and Friends Friday morning, he said.
Freeman is a blogger on the Free Keene website.
In the case the city asks the court to prohibit residents Kate Ager, Ian Bernard, aka Ian Freeman, James Cleaveland, Graham Colson, Garrett Ean and Peter Eyre from coming within 50 feet of the city's three parking enforcement officers "during the performance of their employment duties for the City," the lawsuit says.
Members of the group carry cards they leave under windshield wipers reading, "Your meter expired; however, we saved you from the king's tariffs, Robin Hood and his Merry Men. Please consider paying it forward," and includes an address where donations for the cause can be sent. They also leave flyers that inform people how to fight a ticket in court.