This summer we experienced record breaking heat. Of course we have been saying pretty much the same things since the early 70's and before. With temperatures reaching up to a hundred degrees on several days and with coinciding smog alerts, it was hard to decide whether to leave the windows open in the house as I slept or whether to shut them. The descion really became one of necessity. The windows had to remain open.
After the Bush protest the use of sirens in my neighborhood rose unbelievably. Police sirens would wake me up 3-4 times a night. At 2:00, at
2:30am, and 3:30. As I lay suffering in the heat, my sleep uneasy with heat and dirty air, the police sirens seemed to take on greater significance. At first I discounted what was going on. I really was not going to jump to conclusions about what was happening. I do not believe that police are all inhumane bullies. I have had friends who were police officers who have been wonderful people. Like me they were stuck in a bad job and were curious as well about spirituality and herbal medicines. We would swap stories of being waiters and working in resteraunts. I don't believe in judging somebody based on the job they have. That being said, it makes since that I would not turn around either and declare that all police are out there to protect and serve as their motto denotates.
Clamydia is a fine human being. He is extremely sensitive and intelligent. I would often talk to Clamydia about the excessive use of Police Sirens I was hearing in the neighborhood and he as well was noticing the same thing. Both of us were frusterated. We talked about our options. We both were complaining about our disturbed shortened rest. We had to do something about it. We knew that we could not go to the police station and file a report. It would be equivilant to calling the KKK and ask them to look into racial profiling within their organization. Walking up to a police officer on break and discussing this topic would produce about the same results. Nothing and they would watch me. See, about this time the evidence was indisputable. The police had laid seige to our neighborhood with noise pollution and were abusing us with sleep deprevation.
Then the incident played out on 9/20/02 at 2:45am. Clamydia was up being unable to sleep due to the extreme noise pollution. When Clamydia flipped of the police officer we did not know it was the way to deal with the police misconduct. Clamydia knew his rights and he stood firm on this issue. The police officer obviously thought that he had him tagged as a drunk or drug addict. He even called for back up. When the police officer threatened to Jam him up, Clamydia responded very simply at this point and inquired if it was a threat. (If you want his account please see the archives.) After a bit Clamydia demanded his badge number and name. The police officer would not provide this information. This is against Portland Law. Clamydia asked at least half a dozen times for this information which was not supplied in front of witnesses.
After that day the neighborhood became quiet again. I started being able to sleep soundly with happy sweat lodge dreams again. At first we couldn't believe it, it seemed to soon to say. Then it seemed we shouldn't say anything as if it might jinx the situation. But then it was so evident that it had CHANGED that we felt we could celebrate it. It was hard to celebrate it at first because Clamydia knows his rights as an American Citizen. He knew that for doing so, his body might be found somewhere, or that he could end up in jail for ten years for assaulting a police officer, or crowd the jails as so many do being a "political prisoner." But it is O.K. to celebrate successful direct action.
I remember thinking that Clamydia should not have done that, and I recall Clamydia even stating that what he did was a bit immature. That is why I am writing this peice. Because small acts of civil disobedience can lead to great changes no matter how immature they may seem to the public at large.
A quote from this weeks edition of the Willamette Weekly.
This was included in a Portland police officers official police report
in 1992, "I wasn't dealing with a bunch of stupid niggers." -Officer Brad Bailey