Supporters gathered at Pioner Courthouse Square and marched to City Hall where a press conference was held featuring speakers from the Mexican Consulate; the Hispanic Advisory Council to the Police; State Senator Gordley; Pastor Tate of the Albina Ministry Alliance; the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; and County Commissioner Serena Cruz. Comments and Introductions were made by Marin Gonzalez of the Latino Network. Letters of support were also submitted by the Asian Pacific American Network, SEIU Local 503, and the Palestinian community.
After the Conference, statements were brought up to the mayors office, and then the group marched to Police headquarters to deliver their message to Chief Kroeker. Neither official were there to receive the community, and at this writing, plans are being laid to meet with the mayor on Monday, and Chief Kroeker sometime next week.
Statements were strong and emotional, as one would expect, in reaction to Chief Krokers action in rewarding people for killing other people. As Martin pointed out, "A police officer can kill anyone as long as that officer follows procedures established by the police bureau. This arguement (is) unacceptable." According to Gonzalez, during the incident which resulted in the death of Mejia Poot, officers could have withdrawn, or called in relatives to help diffuse the situation. Neither seemingly reasonable alternative was taken.
Included in the Press Conference media packet are a list of demands from the Latino Community, from an April 25, 2002 Latin Community Speak Out. Among other things, these demands call for: Tri-Met and Police to implement diversity training for all bus drivers and police officers; the ratio of bi-lingual and bi-cultural police officers to be reflective of the Latino community; the Portland City Council to adopt a city wide ordinance against police brutality; the City of Portland create a Citizen's Review Board.
During the conference, in response to a request from members of the Spanish speaking media, a few statements were made to the gathering in Spanish. These statements will be posted as a separate file, for those members of the Community who speak Spanish, or would like to hear these comments in their native language.<BR>
The file is about 30 minutes in length.<BR>
The link provided takes you to a page where this and other audio files are located.