Ten days after the City of Miami evicted the Occupy Miami camp from the Government Center downtown, reporter Michael Miller and I visited "Fort Peace," the inner city apartment complex opened as a safehouse to the movement by Rodrigo "Señor Paz" Duque.
One of the first photos I shot, of seven Occupiers on a stairwell, included Jared Chase of Keene, New Hampshire -- who's now infamous nationwide as a domestic terror suspect, one of the three Occupiers arrested as part of the so-called "NATO 3." We didn't spend much time with Jared in Overtown, but we did catch him on video for a while. Online, he left a record that paints a clear picture of a troubled, drug-addicted former gang member trying to reinvent himself in Occupy's turbulent Miami movement.
Chase and two other South Florida Occupiers -- Brian Church and Brent Betterly -- were charged over the weekend with plotting a violent attack on police, banks and Obama's campaign headquarters during this week's NATO summit in Chicago.
All three spent time at Fort Peace, the chaotic, lawless Overtown enclave we wrote about in depth in March. Fellow Occupiers have reacted with dismay to the arrests -- and the NATO 3's attorneys now claim they were set up by the feds.
The three suspects haven't spoken since their arrest. But Chase, at least, left a serious digital trail on the web that starts in New Hampshire, winds through Boston, Tampa, and Miami, and includes his musical work as a DJ and producer, battles with crack and meth addiction and life as a gang member in his home state of New Hampshire.
Here is a freeze frame from a video interview we shot at Occupy Miami's Fort Peace (click through for the full video):
Above is a profile picture from the Myspace page of a Jared Chase from Keene, New Hampshire. He's got a heavier build, closer cropped hair, and a cleaner cut look, but his tattoos (right forearm "soldier," and left forearm "respect") are a solid identifier that this is the same guy.
The distinct markings are clearly visible in another video still from his time with Occupy Miami:
Starting at the age of 18, Jared began accruing arrests and building a felony criminal record.
Chase's hometown paper, The New Hampshire Sentinel Source details his lengthy record in a recent article, uncovering charges for "several incidents of violence" including a 2003 case for driving into a man till his own car's windshield was smashed out from the force of impact. He was convicted and spent six months in jail, and when he got out repeatedly violated his probation, once for a positive drug test for cocaine, again for violating curfews, and finally general 'bad behavior.' He was arrested again in 2003 for threatening to kill a police witness, her friends, and her family at knife point, and given a suspended one year jail term. In 2005, his girlfriend stabbed him with a glass shard after an argument.
Chase quit a job at a restaurant in Boston to travel with Occupiers, his family tells the paper. During his time living with protesters in Miami, he racked up more small charges. On Jan. 26, he was charged with petty theft for swiping a Red Bull and a "protein bar" from a downtown CVS. On January 31, he was booked again for "loitering or prowling" after police found him and two other Occupiers in a truck on NW North River drive with a baseball bat, bolt cutters, and a sledge hammer.
But perhaps the most revealing online record of Chase comes from the the biography that for his page on the social music sharing site SoundClick, where he hosted 40 of his own rap songs:
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J-Chase started as a small town kid, born in Keene New Hampshire, spending most of his childhood there. Until as a teenager , he moved to the city of MANCHESTER NH. Where he was thrown to the wolves. His parents devorced when he was 14. He was the only one to ever look out for himself. Having to learn to survive in the city. And he did, first through drugz, then selling drugz, then gangs, he was a full fledged criminal. Most people called him a psycho. But he's only as sick as this world made him. At the age of 18 he went to jail for his first time. Charged with 6 felonies and 3 misdemeanors , including first degree assuat with a deadly weapon and witness tampering . Trying to kill someone , They would have kept him down his whole life if they had some more evidence. But needless to say he's out now. But not before he returned 6 or 7 times. He soon moved to California, to persue his goals, and leave his past behind him. Held back his whole life by crime, violence , death , drugz and jail, he has had no choice but to survive. His first show ever was cancelled after his house was raided by the police , and he was arrested once again , this time on a warrent. J-Chase has spent the better aprt of his life battleing drug addiction with Crack and Meth.
After years of tragedy , pain and prison , J-Chase has made it his mission in life to make sure the whole world knows his name. In His short time in the rap game , he's worked with such people like DJ Whoo Kidd , DJ Woogie , DJ L Gee , DJ Espee , Hoodpromo, DJ Fade, DJ Farooq , DJ Culture, DJ Strong, DJ Warrior, Bum Squad DJ's, All out All stars, Hood DJ's, In Da Streets Magazine , Rap Pages Magazine, Shadyville , G-Unit, Slip N SLide, And Black Wall Street,Billy Danze (MOP), E-40 , Young Nobble and Edi Imean (outlawz), Gillie Da Kid, and Ali Vegas. As well as building a company from the ground up , based on the principle that Marketing , Advertising , Mixtapes,Radio play , and Promotions ,should be available and affordable to the low budget artist with talent that deserve to be heard . Built his own radio station , record label , recording studio, mixtape series, clothing line ,ring tones , released 58 songs , including his debut album "All Thugz Go 2 Heaven", and 2 mixtapes. His style, lyrics , and delivery get stronger with each verse, and is soon to be a serious problem for the industry. In the summer of 2008 , J-Chase was accepted / signed to Slip N Slide as a DJ. Recruited by DJ Next Level. J-Chase will surely have imppact on this industry for a long time to come"
Finally, here is video footage I shot where Jared Chase appears in the background of an interview. The location is Occupy Miami's "Fort Peace," and the footage was shot roughly a week after Occupy Miami's eviction from the Government Center in downtown Miami.