JFW Ralliers Harassed
Participants in the monthly Justice for Woody rallies began to experience harassment after Sorrell exonerated the shooters. The rallies are legally permitted assemblies in which participants exercise their first amendment rights by holding signs and sharing information. A pattern of harassment started with the July 20th rally, whose focus was a call for a new probe.
July 20th, 2002
At the beginning of the July rally, an unidentified woman got out of her car, the car still running and a child in the passenger seat, walked up to the information table and started to scrawling "Terrance Parker" and "Marshall Holbrook" in large letters across several petition pages, spoiling them. A rallier restrained her to prevent her destruction of more property. She yelled obscenities at the rallier, and left.
August 17th, 2003
During the August rally, an SUV pulled up to the High Street light and a white-haired man with a vicious glare in his eyes displayed his middle finger to the ralliers, and began yelling. A rallier, who could not hear him though his car window, motioned for him to roll down the window, which he did, then he yelled, "Shove that sign up your ass!" The rallier responded, "Why should I do such a thing? This is my first amendment right to stand here." The white-haired man responded by uttering more expletives. Then he opened his wallet and flashed a deputy sheriff's badge.
The second incident happened only 2 days after the Brattleboro Reformer published a very mean-spirited and uninformed letter by former chair of the Selectboard, Bob Fagelson. Many responded to the attack with letters, both published and unpublished.
Participants in the rallies have continued to see expressions of support greatly outnumbering expressions of disapproval, despite the growing incivility of some of the latter.
November 22nd, 2003
During the November rally at 230 Main Street, a Brattleboro Police Department cruiser pulled up alongside the rally while stopping at the red light. A non-uniformed woman sitting in the front passenger seat of the cruiser made an obscene gesture toward the small group of peaceful ralliers, a group which included a nine-year-old boy. Following the gesture, the passenger window was lowered, and the uniformed officer said something which the ralliers could not hear, and it is uncertain whether or not his words were directed towards his passenger or the group on the sidewalk. Two members of JFW went to the police station and filed a formal complaint, thereupon learning that the operator of the cruiser was Terrance Parker, the same officer that fired the first shots at Woody, and most likely, the shot to his back. On November 26th, a JFW member present at the event called Brattleboro Police Chief John Martin to follow up on the formal complaint which had been filed five days earlier. A defensive Martin stated that "officers cannot be held responsible for the actions of their passengers".