Maskless man cited for trespass, led away in cuffs

Dennis Steele in handcuffs, courtesy photo

by Guy Page

A St. Johnsbury man was handcuffed by Newport City police and cited for trespass last week after he refused to put on a mask at a high school basketball game, Police Chief Travis Bingham said Monday. 

Dennis Steele, father of one of the St. Johnsbury Academy players and a business owner, entered without a mask and sat down in the stands in the North Country Union High School gym, Bingham said. 

The misdemeanor crime of trespass is punishable by up to three months in prison or a $500 fine. Steele referred all comments to his lawyer, Robert Kaplan. This is the first citation for mask-related trespass issued by the Newport Police, Bingham said. 

North Country Athletic Director Phil Joyal has a policy that anyone attending games must wear a mask. If they won’t, they’re refused entry. Forfeiting the game also is an option for non-compliance, the chief said. 

“Somehow this gentleman got into the facility and sat down next to a lady who also wasn’t wearing a mask,” Bingham said. “Mr. Joyal went over and tried to have a conversation.” The man said “I’m not wearing a mask and I’m not going anywhere,” the police chief said. 

At that point Joyal stopped the game and announced Steele had four minutes to leave. Both teams were sent to the locker room. Police arrived on the scene and arrested Steele for trespass. 

“He wasn’t arrested for any criminal law violation [about masking], because there isn’t one,” Bingham said. Steele didn’t resist and was taken off in handcuffs to the police station, where he was cited and released. A photo on social media shows Steele being led away by police.

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30 replies »

  1. Remember the good ‘ol days when a MASKED man was typically cited for causing a crime or other potential trouble? These days, it’s a maskless man. Times have changed.

  2. They are insane. Our state is being overrun by drug dealing gang members from MA, CT and elsewhere but not wearing a stupid face diaper gets you arrested.

    • What’s worse is that there is no law against being unmasked, so they charge you with misdemeanor trespassing, which “is punishable by up to three months in prison or a $500 fine.” 🤦‍♀️

      • They don’t need a law against being unmasked because people and schools will voluntarily enforce these behaviors themselves! Clearly the messaging has been successful.

  3. Kudos to Dennis for his steely resolve. We should all chip-in and help pay for his legal defense, should he ask for our support.

    History will not be kind to the useful idiots participating in this un-American, authoritarian farce – including most idiotic and cowardly Phil Joyal and Travis Bingham.

  4. Where is the ACLU ? Didn’t they used to champion “civil liberties”? Oh, that’s right they only defend Democrat’s civil liberties.

  5. If you are required to wear safety glasses in a building then you do so. What is the difference between that and a mask for safety (helping reduce the spread of infection). Both are safety issues.

    • You are asking what is the difference between a tested pair of ANSI-standard polycarbonate safety glasses covering one’s eyes, and a filthy piece of paper or cotton covering one’s mouth?

    • I believe that this is the difference:

      I try my best to read independently and follow the actual science on this issue, and the science does not demonstrate that masks make any difference. I recommend reading the outcomes of many of these studies. This has become an us vs. them debate and it absolutely should not be. It seems like anyone who is afraid of becoming infected (just like for decades with the flu) should elect to isolate themselves should they choose. Disease is a part of life – COVID has a 1.6% case mortality rate, per Johns Hopkins: Who gets to decide at what case mortality rate that ineffective strategies be imposed on the general public?

      Additionally, safety glasses are for me, not for everyone else (and they are generally to protect the business from lawsuit). Masks are allegedly for the sake of others, even though they’re not shown to be effective at reducing transmission. I don’t believe this analogy is the same.

  6. “He wasn’t arrested for any criminal law violation [about masking], because there isn’t one,”
    Yes, it was technically “trespassing”, but he was asked to leave for not wearing a mask. If he had been asked to leave for being too black or too Jewish, you know you’d have your ass handed to you in court.

    Don’t piss on my back, and tell me it’s raining.

    • Indeed. Gaslighting is what the Leftists do best. Or as it shall be henceforth be known – “backpissing.”

  7. This needs to end now. The athletic director is telling a taxpaying parent, at the public school, they need to restrict the air flowing in and out of their lungs while they watch their children play? And the police arrest this man… on what or who’s authority? Who imposed the fine? This man is obligated to abide by laws that were lawfully enacted, not ones made up by any other entity. This should go all the way to the Supreme Court. Who gets to make the rules that govern our lives?? How can I help this man?

  8. A Phil Joyal “policy” is not grounds for any arrest. No law was broken and the property does not belong to Mr. Joyal. The police should not be enforcing “laws” that don’t exist. And you wonder why people are wanting to de-fund the police? Are they Joyal’s personal bodyguards?

      • But he wasn’t trespassing – he went to a game. I want to help him too – Guy let us know how we can help.

  9. GUY….EVERYONE….This is Dennis Steele —–WHO WAS 2ND VT REPUBLIC’S CAND FOR GOVERNOR.a few years ago. I know him personally….from when I was organizer and Foreign Minister of SVR !!!
    He is an honorable and principalled man! Hi, Dennis! Way to go !

  10. According to the story, “North Country Athletic Director Phil Joyal has a policy that anyone attending games must wear a mask.” Can it be possible one person gets to dictate how the entire public must use the school? That’s beyond absurd and autocratic.

  11. We all need to call phil scotts office and let him know we will not comply with this reckless attempt to control Vermonters. When they refuse to arrest illegals and let felons in possession of a firearm to go free then the scales have tipped in favor of lawlessness.

  12. The petty tyrants put on quite a performance for all attending and what an impression to put upon those children. Obey or the storm troopers will come and take you away! Germany circa 1930’s. There is a sickness in Vermont – it is not COVID.

  13. You can kiss your body parts where the sun doesn’t Shine period! On these mandates period
    And that includes you Governor Scott!!

  14. First, there was no law or regulation passed and approved by any legal authority: city, county or state. And, as I understand no citizen (or as in the case of Vermont, non-citizen) can legally announce their own personal law or regulation, to suit him or herself. Under what authority did the police department handcuff this gentleman, require him to leave the premises, interrupt a basketball game and force him to leave the building to go to the Police Station. There is no mention of the woman reportedly also without a mask.

  15. How can these police officers be so stupid? They are as stupid as our attorney general TJ (George Soros supported) for trying to close down that business in Newport (you know Newport which often has a high unemployment rate?) because the owner wouldn’t wear a mask! Perhaps they could focus on real criminals. Such morons. And drama queens!

  16. Can’t wait for this lawsuit.

    There are real crimes in Vermont because of the lawlessness made by the Marxist Regime and their puppets, drugs, robberies, etc. – what about combating real crime? Huh? Burlington is now a Trash City, so are cities in southern Vermont.

    Mr. Joyal and the Newport City Police must be illiiterate of the History of what happened in Nazi Germany with Hitler, Italy with Mussolini, and Russia with Stalin compared to what’s going on in Vermont and this Country.

    However, this will not stand. God did not give us a spirit of Fear, but of Faith!

    Liberty is from God not man.

  17. Human nature tells us what we need to know about our current state of affairs. Consider these topics when you get the chance.

    First: Self Determination Theory. People who are intrinsically motivated (i.e., acting autonomously of their own accord) tend to accept personal responsibility for their outcomes. People who are extrinsically motivated (i.e., doing what they are told to do by a so-called higher authority) tend to blame others for their outcomes – especially when those outcomes are less than desired.

    Second: The Milgram Experiment: How far will people go to obey an order? It will suit everyone to understand this infamous study and its conclusions about human nature and authoritarian control.

    If this ‘maskless man’, and other similar stories tell us anything, it’s to not be confrontational if it can be avoided.

    This is not to say that conservatives shouldn’t defend themselves – and it may come to that. But those who disagree with the typical conservative mindset aren’t stupid. In fact, if anything, these progressive Marxists are expert at manipulating the system to get their way.

    Being confrontational, at first blush, is precisely what progressive authoritarians want conservatives to do. One need only analyze the so-called ‘CRT’, the ‘January 6th Insurrection’ claims, and the current ‘anti-vaxxer’ campaigns. These are strategies designed to make conservatives react – and to justify authoritarian control over what they do by declaring them a danger to society.

    I’m not pretending to know what the best course of action is for every instance that is confrontational. But this story of the ‘maskless man’ is yet another case in point. My advice to anyone concerned with the current authoritarian tyranny besetting our society – make a stand if you must. But this authoritarian mindset will collapse on itself if conservatives don’t add fuel to its fire. Get your kids out of the public school system. If it’s a choice between being vaccinated and losing your ability to provide for yourself, weigh the risks and rewards, do what works best for you. Wear masks in public when it makes others comfortable – and stay away from them if you can’t. Get your house in order. Be as self-sufficient as you can be.

    It’s now a game of attrition. Be smart. And we’ll see you on the other side.

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