KEENE — The Free Keene Blog is taking heat for posting footage of a recent standoff that ended with a man shooting himself to death.
“Most of the heat’s online,” said Free Keene blogger Ian Freeman, who started the blog in 2006.
Free Keene blogger Garrett Ean shot and posted the footage.
Community members, especially family members of the deceased, are upset about the posted video, City Council member Randy Filiault said Monday.
“The family asked them to remove it from online and they didn’t. They’ve alienated people (who have sided with them in the past) on this one,” Filiault said.
On July 1, a man shot himself to death during a 4 ½-hour standoff with police on Ivy Drive.
The man, Matthew Snow, 34, of Keene was immediately taken to Cheshire Medical Center, where he succumbed to his injuries.
Freeman said while he does have editorial access to the blog, he rarely exercises it.
“FreeKeene.com is a news site and an activist’s site,” he said. “We do report the news from our perspective.”
Ean said Wednesday that, though is he an activist, when he covers an event such as the standoff last week, he is there as an objective journalist.
Police were actively dealing with the standoff situation and family members of Snow had declined to speak to a news crew, so Ean said he focused his efforts on capturing the standoff on camera.
His camera was not focused on Snow during the actual shooting, but the shot can be heard.
“What I happened to capture, what you see is not all that graphic, it’s what people know is going on that makes it disturbing,” Ean said.
Ean has been confronted online by people offended by the posting of the footage, as well as on the street by relatives of Snow, but he stands by releasing the footage, he said.
Certainly it’s important for the public to hold police accountable for their actions, and while they seemed to do many things right, they perhaps could have handled certain aspects of the standoff differently, he said.
The standoff had started after Keene police officers tried to arrest Snow on an electronic bench warrant —for receiving stolen property and for a parole violation. It seemed to Ean, Snow feared returning to jail, and the entire time Ean was watching, Snow never pointed his weapon at anyone but himself and never appeared to be a threat to anyone but himself.
“I felt he was treated as though he was more of a threat to others than he really was,” Ean said.
After he shot himself police “are seen rolling him over to handcuff him and then rolling him back over so the paramedics can come in,” Ean said.
Some people who have commented on the Free Keene blog that the footage is offensive also say they are shocked by seeing police handcuff the man, Ean said.
“I thought it was pretty clear he was clearly very critically injured,” he added.