New Hampshire Dem Runs on COPSLIE Platform

Candidate who changed name to

Members of the New Hampshire Police Association Pipes and Drums / AP


An anti-police activist who legally changed his name to "Human" is seeking the Democratic nomination to the New Hampshire State House of Representatives.

David Montenegro of Dover caused waves in May when the state supreme court ruled that he had the right to obtain a license plate reading "COPSLIE."

Montenegro, who legally changed his name to Human, sued the Department of Motor Vehicles for violating his free speech rights in 2010 when it rejected his proposed vanity plate and mailed him a plate that read GR8GOVT instead.

"Human" represented himself throughout the case and received support from the state ACLU, among other groups, arguing that his message did not constitute offensive speech. A copy of a legal brief filed by "human pro se" was posted on an otherwise blank website called

"Among the various forms of speech, political speech is most staunchly protected. As a form of political speech, Petitioner’s choice of the plate ‘COPSLIE’ is afforded the highest degree of constitutional protection," the brief stated. "By denying Petitioner his chosen vanity license plate, the DMV violated the free speech rights of Petitioner."

The state court agreed, saying that the DMV statute was too vague and the agency favored pro-government messages over anti-government ones.

Montenegro’s candidacy rankled state law enforcement, though few are worried about his fringe beliefs. There are bound to be a few oddballs among the 400 state representatives, Nashua Master Patrolman John Yurcak said. Yurcak also serves as Vice President of the New Hampshire Police Association, the state’s largest law enforcement union.

"I’m thinking he’s probably not going to get too far," Yurcak said. "Most people are pretty reasonable and their exposure to law enforcement doesn’t produce this guy’s chip-on-the-shoulder."

Yurcak said the association is willing to talk to anyone seeking public office in the state, though he admits Montengro "probably won’t" receive the union’s endorsement in his run against 86-year-old Democratic incumbent Rep. Rose Marie Rogers. Yurcak acknowledged that there is a possibility that Montenegro could win; some state representatives are elected with just a couple hundred votes.

"Should he be elected and try to enact stuff that would severely inhibit our ability to do our job, he’s probably not going to have the effect he wants to have," Yurcak said.

The Washington Free Beacon contacted several telephone numbers listed under Montenegro, but all were either disconnected or belonged to other people.

The primary is scheduled for September 9.

Bill McMorris   Email Bill | Full Bio | RSS
Bill McMorris is a staff writer for the Washington Free Beacon. He joins the Beacon from the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, where he was managing editor of Old Dominion Watchdog. He was a 2010 Robert Novak Fellow with the Phillips Foundation, where he studied state pension shortfalls. His work has been featured on CNN, Fox News, The Economist, Colbert Report, and numerous print publications and radio stations. He lives in Alexandria, Va, with his wife and three daughters. His Twitter handle is @FBillMcMorris. His email address is

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