People of Distinction demand Kroeker's resignation
On Monday, November 26, about 200 people gathered in Pioneer Square for a protest demanding the resignation of Police Chief Kroeker. Kroeker had recently given honorary medals to the police officers who murdered Jos? Mej?a Poot in 2001.
Kate Lore, of the Unitarian Church. People from a diverse array of groups came out to support Poot's family and protest against police policies and procedures that allow such a killing to take place.
Dave Mazza, editor of the Portland Alliance newspaper.
Martin Gonzalez of the Latino Network MC'd the event.
Folks gathered around to hear the story of Poot's murder and the call for Kroeker's resignation.
After a brief introduction, the crowd marched to City Hall to deliver a letter to Mayor Vera Katz, who has shown little interest in community concerns about police brutality or other issues of social justice. Katz is a member of the Democratic Party, though what distinguishes her from a Republican has never been clear.
This might have been the most diverse crowd I've seen at a demo in Portland. I saw Latinos, African Americans, Asians, whites (and mixes of all of the above) and people across the political board, from anarchist to the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
Martha Ortiz de Rosas, Mexican consulate general for Oregon: issued Consulate press release asking for an apology from the city and revocation of the awards."
A woman from the Hispanic Advisory Committee to the Portland Police Dept.: asked for a formal apology from the Mayor and the resignation of Chief Kroeker. "?Ya Basta!"
Avel Gordly, State Senator for District 23: Kroeker awarding the officers who murdered Poot was "an act of disrespect to the grieving families and a community already distrustful of the police, especially the young people."
Pastor Roy Tate: The Portland Police procedure seems to be "shoot now, receive an award later."
Clara Padilla Andrews, president of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce: "The Latino Business community supports public safety but... wants to know what the plan is to restore respect for the police in the community."
Serena Cruz, Multnomah County Commissioner: "supports call for resignation of Chief Kroeker".
Citizens meet with Elise Marshall, police liaison for the Mayor.
Next, everyone gathered outside the police station downtown to give the Silver Dimes Award to Chief Kroeker.
Cops were blocking the doors. It was not uncommon to see a smirk ontheir faces. The systemic disrespect for people of color was out on full display in many subtle ways like that. It disgusted me. Yeah, yeah - cops are people too. In this case, some nasty people.
Poot was put in a psych ward by police after he was twenty cents short to get on the bus. It was in the hospital -- after no one spoke to him in Spanish and he began to suffer from his epilepsy -- that he was murdered by two police officers. Hence the "Silver Dimes Award" for Chief Kroeker. For want of two dimes, Poot's life was taken from him. This is not an aberation. This is how the U.S. works.
Kroeker was not there, or refused to come out and face the community he is sworn to protect and serve. Deputy Chief Clark came down instead.
Clark accepted the reward and delivered an "I-feel-your-pain-we-can-work-it-out" speech such as you're taught in certain classes. He said nothing of substance but made it sound compassionate. Hot air all of it.
These horse cops were across from the police station. You don't see them out for specific actions very often. I guess people of color and radicals are the only ones dangerous enough to require this show of force.