What Were Police Snipers Doing at a Pumpkin Festival?

To casual observers, the annual pumpkin festival in the small college town of Keene, New Hampshire, would seem like a harmless bit of seasonal fun. But to the local police, the event is apparently so threatening, it has to be monitored by military-style sniper units.

Photos and videos taken by partygoers at last weekend’s event—some of which were shot with the help of a private drone—show what appear to be teams of plainclothes officers stationed on rooftops, scanning the crowds below with binoculars and military-grade sniper rifles. The Keene Police Department refused to confirm whether it had dispatched the snipers or explain why the tactical units were necessary.

As it happened, a massive riot broke out among the swarms of drunken college and high school students attending the festival, but the snipers never employed their weapons. Instead, ground police used tear gas and pepper spray to break up the crowd.

Garret Ean, a local activist who witnessed the event, claims to have seen a plainclothes officer with a rifle pointing down toward partygoers, while other officers on the roof beside him looked on (pictured in the photo Ean took, below).

Ean says he also saw snipers at last year’s festival, when he and some pals confronted a police officer about the tactical units. “He told us, ‘After the Boston bombing happened, this is just the way it is now,’” Ean tells Vocativ.

Full article: What Were Police Snipers Doing at a Pumpkin Festival? (V[]cativ)

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