Two people facing felony charges because of Portland police assault
Fwd from Buffalo IMC
Portland, Oregon Police attack a house party on what some feel is an escalation of the international "anarchist witchhunt" that has been ongoing since the WTO, and two days later, police fatally shoot a Latino man.
Portland, Oregon-On March 30 in the early morning, police attacked a Portland house party in what some are calling an "anarchist witch hunt," at the same time, perpetrating incidents in communities of color that many have seen as a continuation of the domination of those communities.
The party was filled with people dressed in black, "metal heads" and "crusty gutter punks." Some are active in anti-authoritarian actions.
Two police cars showed up around 1 a.m., supposedly responding to a noise complaint. The police began pepper spraying people and using compliance holds on them. Within minutes, 43 squad cars and an empty public transportation bus were on the scene to cart away people. Dozens of people were detained, at least nine of them were taken to a detox center, where they were refused Breathalyzer tests when they tried to insist they were not drunk.
Three people were arrested and charged with Assault and Kidnapping, which is a mandatory minimum charge. The charge of Riot was later added. One of the people was released, but Chad and the other individual have been indicted on kidnapping and the other charges, and the state is continuing with prosecution. If convicted, they will have to serve out all of the seven year sentence.
The Portland community responded the next day to the attacks. Meeting with over 100 people have discussed how to stop the police harassment that has been heightened.
Money is needed for the three defendants for legal defense and general direct support work, such as canteen money. You can send support and write for more information to
the March 30 Fund
818 SW 3rd Ave PMB 354
Portland OR 97204.
Make checks payable to G. Grantham.
One of the defendants told a reporter he was beaten by police while handcuffed. When denied use of a bathroom, he urinated on his cell floor and was attacked shortly afterwards. Other party attendees have stated that one person was thrown to the ground and kneed when he urged people to get badge numbers and names of the police arresting them.
People say that while police where pepper-spraying and using compliance holds on individuals at the show, they were also questioning people about their political beliefs, and taking photographs of their tattoos. Anyone refusing to be photographed was physically forced by officers. And at the arraignment, anyone who looked mildly "anarchist" was photographed by police.
One supporter was ticketed for jay walking as she left the arraignment. She was detained by two plain-clothes cops, one of whom had minutes before claimed to be off-duty. When the crowd approached them, they called for backup, bringing five more uniformed cops, including a Lieutenant. A crowd formed, including some Copwatch people, and the officers let her go.
It is not just politically active people or anarchists being targeted, it is anyone who fits into the police profile of what an "anarchist" is: punk, patches, white kid dreadlocks, etc., the same image they have been portraying since the WTO.
Portland has a Joint Terrorism Task Force (PJTTF), which allows police and FBI to share information and work basically as one unit. There are, in fact, 19 other cities around the country with similar task forces. These task forces are indicative of planning and responding to movements, rather than "terrorism." While it has not been proven that PJTTF agents were involved in the March 30 incident, there has been an escalation of police activity in the city since its inception. Last year police attacked a May Day parade, and they say they are preparing for this upcoming May Day. Local news media have been calling it "a season of unrest." This attack March 30 has been seen by some Portland activists as a pre-emptive strike by the police.
At the same time in Portland, incidents with police brutality within communities of color were escalating. On April 1st, a resident worker from Mexico was shot and killed by Portland police officers at a psychiatric hospital. Jose Mejia Poot had been arrested on March 30 when he was 20 cents short for bus fare. Eyewitnesses state that Mejia, who experienced epileptic seizures, was beaten by five officers at the scene, arrested and taken to the downtown jail. One bystander told a reporter it "looked like Rodney King." Mejia was released from the jail after an hour, then taken to a local for-profit psychiatric hospital. There he was shot by a Portland cop in the head and chest after allegedly threatening staff with pencils, and later a metal bar. No Spanish-speaking staff or police were present at the time. Mejia's family, whose calls for a full investigation are backed by the Mexican consulate, state he spoke Spanish and Mayan.
Two years ago, a 68 year old black woman was dragged out of her van by a white police officer. Two weeks before the incident, that complaint was appealed to the City Council, which was acting as a police review board, and it ruled there was insufficient evidence to determine if police misconduct occurred.
The activist and punk communities internationally have to see this recent attack by police within the continuum of police violence, and organize with the communities of color who are under constant attack just for their very existence. Activists get attacked for what they say, but people of color are shot for who they are.
While it is important to see the connection, punks and anarchists can not allow themselves to fall into the mindset of "we wear black, you ARE black, our oppression is the same," can not allow themselves to equate their oppression with the historic genocide against people of color, can not forget that they still, most of them white, have privilege in this society.
Radicals can not allow themselves to be isolated from the communities whose struggle this really is. Without the support of communities of color, activists will be very easily picked off in COINTELPRO manner, locked up for long prison sentences and villianized by a system that makes dissent a crime, just as it makes melanin and poverty a crime. The very act of people of color demanding to be treated as humans, respected as people, and to be able to create their own cultures is seen in this country as an act of treason.
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