Teens lash out at cops online

BEDFORD – Young people here have found their own way of organizing against authority: They started a group on Facebook.

The group, called Bedford Cops Need a Life, has 208 members, and it’s a place where teenagers from Bedford can vent their frustrations about the local police department.

The group’s wall – a section of a Facebook page where friends can post public messages – includes stories about getting one’s car searched for 45 minutes for driving too close to the center line, getting a ticket for going 34 miles per hour in a 30 mph zone, and even being questioned for looking “suspicious” while walking down the street.

Some posts are warnings – like the one where a student tells other members to watch out for the police officer on the motorcycle who tickets the last vehicle to go through a red light – while in other entries, the students share the bad dreams they had about cops: nightmares about being shot at and being caught with marijuana.

Bedford Police Chief David Bailey declined to comment on the Facebook group or claims about the department made by its members.

Group member Andre Garron, who is now a student at the University of New Hampshire, has a truckload of stories about the Bedford police.

He said he’s been stopped for riding his bicycle in the street and was pulled over for stopping at a stop sign for too long at 2 a.m. when there were no cars behind him.

Garron’s friend Kyle Bannon, 19, who is also a member of Bedford Cops Need a Life, said he feels like police target him because he drives a beautiful 1969 Buick Rivera that he rebuilt himself.

“They might think I bought it with a bunch of money; maybe they’re jealous,” he suggested.

He said it seems to him like Bedford police are “always on the streets harassing kids,” and they need to find more important things to do than giving people speeding tickets.

“It seems like so many people

in our age category are getting hefty fines,” he said. “They’re a lot more lenient with older people.”

Bannon already had his license taken away once for speeding, and if this were to happen again he would have no way of getting back home from college, he said.

A Bedford student started the group over the summer after he and his six friends got kicked out of Benedictine Park at dusk. The 18-year-old Manchester West High School senior said he and his friends left their shoes at the bottom of a hill to play frisbee, but soon found that that six police cars had pulled up and were shining their bright lights in their eyes. The police had gone through the students’ belongings, and one pair of shoes ended up across the parking lot, the Facebook group’s founder said. He added that he was surprised by how fast the group’s membership grew.

“I invited a few my friends and in a few weeks it was 150 people,” he said.

Group member Ben Burns, 19, who graduated from high school last year, said he hopes the local police department will visit the Facebook group and learn something from it.

“Maybe they’ll look at it and think ‘wow – maybe we can do something else with our time – do something other than waiting for people to do something wrong.’ ”

Several group members said Bedford has too many officers and the department should be downsized. Because police have nothing to do, they give people a hard time, Burns said.

“A lot of kids get annoyed with constantly being harassed,” he said. “We feel that we’re guilty unless proven innocent.”