After the massive Bush protest and the aggressive police response, many citizens complained of excessive police violence. Mayor Katz hid in her office when people came to express their concerns and frustrations. Now she has given her reply and position regarding these concerns by sending the police to attack the critical mass ride.
Right from the start the police made it clear what their intention was. It was also clear that their actions were mandated from above. What has Mayor Katz said to the citizens? She does not care about peoples welfare or safety. She does not care that police officers are willfully attacking people without cause, even small children. She does not care about justice, honesty or integrity. She knowingly and willfully allows those police officers who are sadistic bullies to abuse and hurt people without reprimand or accountability. She lets these people have free reign, and then defends them.
Mayor Katz is not fit for the office of mayor. She is a disgrace, both as a Mayor, and as a person. She should resign immediately.
The ride left from under the Burnside Bridge, and there were already hundreds of people. From only the second block, the police carried out their plan. This young man did nothing to deserve this physical abuse.
Oh, you mean he might have ridden through a red light? What a horrible crime! Yes, throw him on the hood of the car, twist his unresisting arms behind his back until he is in pain. This is the right way to treat people who offer no resistance, do not raise a fist, nor try to get away and who are guilty of a very minor traffic violation.
Any person they want to arrest, they can just walk up and do so, but the cops just want to knock people down, throw them down, inflict pain by twisting the arms and wrists. They no longer arrest people, they attack them. Though there are some decent people on the police force, I have no respect for the institution, only contempt.
Everyone started chanting "Let them go!, Let them go!" The sound was deafening. There was a primal feeling in the chant that startled the cops.
The irony of the whole thing, the cops, in stopping the mass, giving out dozens of citations, having their cars and motorcycles all over the road, blocked more traffic during the course of the critical mass, than if they just let it happen.
Clearly it is not their intention to assist people in their cars to proceed, because the police cause havoc, and dangerous situations and block the traffic more than the mass ride. I watched the ride, even after the aggressive actions of the police, during the short times it was left alone, stay together, individuals calmly and patiently held up cars on the cross streets while the ride passed, then let the cars proceed. It all works just fine when the cops get out of the way. People can govern themselves just fine.
From there, the ride went on, and up 3rd, going past the people still attending the action to protest protest Bush's war plans against Iraq, which also had a good turnout. The ride turned up Madison before the next incident happened.
Police jump on cyclist who is not resisting arrest
Officers gang up on the man, pulling him down. Another officer tries to block the camera. Police often try to block the view of the camera with their body or hands. Clearly they do not think their actions can stand up to public scrutiny or they would welcome cameras to witness their behavior.
The police continue to assault this person, twisting his arm.
Still twisting the arms. This person did not resist or try to escape. The police could have walked up and simply arrested him like they do on TV, but that is not how it is in the real world. Here the institution of the police feels compelled to violently dominate people. Those officers who have a conscience, need to speak up about this because the police are becoming more violent and militaristic.
I did not see one instance of the police attempting to talk to people, or interact as human beings. There is nothing respectful, or community based in this sort of behavior. They act more like an occupying army, than part of the community.
The mass riders started chanting very loudly, and many people were yelling at the police, telling them to stop hurting people, or to let them go. During the critical mass, it was the police escalating the situation, and apparently looking for conflict.
Still twisting his wrist after he is cuffed
This officer was physically pushing and yelling at this young woman.
At this point there was an incident that was missed by my camera. It was the officer who has his back to the camera, threw a woman (next photo below) to the ground by her face. He told he she got what she deserved. This officer was way out of control and could have hurt her badly. She was not cited or arrested, so obviously she did nothing but piss the guy off. He is the one who should be arrested.
Mr Macho tough guy with his pepper spray, looking for someone to hurt.
The ride resumed, and made it about 8 blocks, before yet another violent incident.
The cops got out their pepper spray.
The fellow in the middle, Barnum, for no apparent reason, pepper sprayed one young man who was standing near him. Sprayed him right in the face.
Then they got out more of their toys. In order to try and stop the critical mass, they were ready to start shooting at people with their rubber bullets. Through all this, the ride kept going, stayed focused and together. All the police action seemed to attract more bicyclists because the mass was still getting bigger. I would estimate the number of people was pushing 7-800 by now.
Carted away upside down.
The mass made its way down to Burnside, where the police kept giving out more citations every few blocks. Still there was alot of good spirit in the ride, with friendliness, and humour mixed with some tension.
In front of Powells this man was pulled over.
Then these two.
The posse, waiting to pounce on more bicyclists.
Here you can look back at all the people. A significant portion of the ride had already passed when this photo was taken. This was the peak point of the ride as far as numbers.
The next incident as the ride neared 21st NW
No more photos to show as there were only more citations (quite a few of them) given out from there on. The ride stayed together, and meandered down 23rd NW, and then back towards downtown and up Broadway. Whenever there were police at an intersection, the ride stopped at the light, and when there were not, the ride went through. The police repeatedly tried to break the ride up into parts, but everyone did a good job of staying together, and not letting it happen.
One of the best moments of the day came as the ride made its way to the Hawthorne Bridge. About 40 people crossed the last light when a line of motorcycle cops rode across the intersection and forced the ride to turn. The 40 turned back, and zipped down the unfinished onramp, met the rest of the mass, and the ride swung around and took the side entrance ramp up onto the Bridge. The cops were outwitted.
With all their aggressive actions, the cops failed to deter the ride, failed to dampen the spirit of the people and failed to prevent the ride from crossing the Hawthorne Bridge. They undoubtedly spent extra money, blocked lots of traffic, pissed off many people, including bystanders and accomplished nothing.
This was my first critical mass. It would have been wonderful to ride all around Portland, with many hundreds of people, enjoying a beautiful and relaxed afternoon and evening without the police. Even so, I am very glad I went, because Portland activists have sent a message back to Vera: We will not be intimidated and bullied. When Bush comes to town, we will protest his visit and his mad war policies, and once a month, we will have a community bike ride.