This is a brief letter that I submitted to the Oregonian yesterday afternoon, (I think it may be published tomorrow as I was contacted today to provide more information) If anyone is organizing any legal actions or other formal complaints against the city or the police department, I would be happy to submit a more extensive and formal version of my account or contribute in any other way.
The behavior of the Portland police at today's protest was unjustifiably aggressive and violent. As a new resident of this city, I attended the actions as an observer and was offended by police conduct.
For over an hour, I watched peaceful protesters respecting a barricade. Suddenly, and without provocation, the officers at the barricade were replaced by dozens in gas masks and riot gear.
These officers ordered people to move back and began firing pepper spray, tear gas and rubber bullets into the crowd. Any protesters who did not run immediately were beaten by officers with clubs. One woman in front of me yelled "why are you doing this to me?" at which point an officer knocked her to the pavement, as I reached in to pull her up, the officer hit me.
I saw no action that should have provoked such a response, in fact, the only violence I witnessed from the crowd occurred immediately after the police attacked. The conduct of these officers was dangerous and irresponsible and should not be tolerated.
-Jason Maxfield, NE Portland
One final, unrelated note, I am new to pdx and looking for work. I have extensive experience organizing around labor, environmental, and other social issues. If anyone is aware of opportunities to do this work (excluding ultra-beaurocratic organizations like PIRG) I would be obliged if you could drop me an e-mail, JasonMaxfield@yahoo.com. Thanks.